Letting your child use a smart device on Internet so you can have some alone time can be dangerous. You never know what kind of content your kids might find and if there’s a stranger waiting to talk to them on the Internet.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to provide your children with a safe space in the real and virtual world.
Read on for more information.
Set Internet Rules
Creating rules can help you function as a healthy family living in a safe environment. When the rules are set, everyone knows what to expect.
Consider the following:
- No one should share personal information including name, address, password, etc. with any stranger over the Internet.
- If someone asks for credit card information and asks not to tell parents, it’s a stranger threat.
- Sharing images of any kind is not permitted. For school projects, ask parents for permission.
- You cannot accept random friend requests.
- Don’t talk to random strangers online.
- Play online games under adult supervision.
- Print out the internet rules for your family and put them in the most visible place where everyone can see them. Then, you can go further and establish penalties for breaking each rule. For example, if they play online games without adult supervision, no chocolate for a week.
You can decide what works for your family.
Use a Normal Computer/Laptop/Smart Device
If it is difficult to monitor children and the content they use, it is wise to use a common device for online work and communication. Tell everyone in the family that this is a common tool so that parents can access what the children do behind their backs.
Everyone in your family knows about accessing information and that it is a shared computer or laptop so they will be careful on the Internet. But first, it’s best to teach your kids how to be polite online and never engage in cyberbullying or name-calling. Also, if they have any such problem, they should talk to you about it.
Use Parental Controls
If your kids use your smartphone, consider YouTube Kids instead of putting rhymes on YouTube. Take advantage of parental control settings. Some parents rely on spy tracker apps to monitor their phone usage. It’s up to you as a parent where you draw the line.
Proactively seek out apps that are age-appropriate for your child. You have to be careful and make sure that the content is child-friendly. It may sound difficult, but that’s the beauty of parenting. Growing up allows you to see things from a different perspective. It is also beneficial at the same time.
Limit Screen Time
Screen time has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Statista survey in 2021, 51% of parents reported that their children spend more than 3 hours per day on screens, excluding time-related to online homework.
When you limit your child’s screen time, it will be much easier to monitor the activities. On the other hand, letting your kids play all day without adult supervision would not be ideal. Also, let your children know that you need to be with them and monitor their online activities because of the dangers of the online world.
Talk About Internet Safety And Risks
Talking about the safety and dangers of the online world should be your top priority. When you give kids a good reason why they need to limit their Internet use, not play a certain game or use a certain app, they will understand your concern.
Honest communication is key to keeping your children safe from the dangers of the online world. If you don’t communicate openly, your kids won’t prefer to tell you who they talk to or what kinds of games they play with their friends online. So, educate your children about the pros and cons of using the internet. Let them know you love and care for them, and that your message is important.
Children aren’t born with manuals or instructions, so you must figure life out as you go along. Nowadays, the Internet is an integral part of your life, and you should be aware of your children’s online activities. You can help your family by setting internet rules, using a common family device, setting parental controls, limiting screen time, and educating your children about the dangers of the online world. In the meantime, enjoy life to the fullest because babies grow up and someday leave the nest. Finally, don’t be hard on yourself or the kids, because you need open and honest communication about various factors in life, including Internet use!