There is no doubt that the internet has resulted in an unprecedented number of revolutionary breakthroughs that have made our lives easier in so many ways. But it has also created a lot of hassles for us because of its vulnerability to abuse and how it is affecting the mental health of kids and adults alike.
Adults have the wisdom to decipher right from wrong on the internet, but most kids are not mentally equipped to handle the massive flow of information on the internet. This means that your children may be unsafe, even within the confines of your home — a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for your family.
This does not mean that you should keep your kids away from the internet. Instead, you should keep an eye on their usage. Therefore, we have listed a few tips to ensure your kids’ safety on the internet.
1. Be aware of their cyber world:
The Internet is like a digital playground and you should be familiar with each nook and corner of this playground and the elements inside it. Sit with your kids when they are under the age of seven and watch what they watch because these early years mark the development of your child’s brain.
2. Set Internet Rules:
Place a list of internet rules right next to the computer or laptop so that there is no confusion about it and children are clear about the consequences of not adhering to the rules. For example, write down the internet schedule for each kid, and also the websites they are allowed to visit.
3. Teach them the importance of privacy:
Sit with your kids and cement in their minds that they should not give out their names, address, or pictures on any website. Moreover, they should avoid opening emails from unknown sources, and must ignore any disturbing messages or material.
4. Keep your computer in a strategic location:
Kids are curious and they will always be tempted to explore beyond what you have allowed. Therefore, you must make sure that the computer is placed in such a location where you can monitor your kids easily.
5. Take them into confidence:
Take your kids into confidence that whenever they are curious about something, or see something disturbing on the internet, they should come to you with their queries.
6. Adjust your computer settings:
All the major browsers have safe surfing options like parental controls or content filters that minimize your child’s exposure to inappropriate material. Even the settings of search engines like google can be tweaked to make it more kid friendly, but be aware that savvy kids can un-tweak those settings.
7. Minimize usage of tablets and phones:
Tablets and phones are portable devices and are therefore hard to monitor. Although, you can make each application password protected. These gadgets are extremely addictive. Once your kid is addicted, you will find him using these gadgets in even risky locations like roads where for example, lack of attention can get your child injured in a car accident.