As the kids get older they’ll be exposed to more of the online world. They’ll use it for playing games, keeping up with friends, doing homework, and all manner of other things. Already we have had to use the iPad for a year exclusively for school, which sometimes involved watching videos online, playing math games, and using various learning apps. If your kids have started using it a lot more, then there are some steps you can take to make sure they stay safe online. The internet can be pretty dangerous for youngsters. Ultimately, you know your own child and you’ll know what kind of guidance they need. In any case, here are some tips for you to consider to keep kids safe online:
Watch Out for Social Media
There are a lot of people on social media who won’t hesitate to hurt your child’s feelings with comments. At the same time, your child could end up making a comment they might regret. Remember, although on some platforms things are set in stone, on some you can change them. For example you can “edit instagram comment” if you think it needs to change but it’s probably wise to keep an eye on your children’s social media. Ensuring they’re complying with rules and being treated well as well as treating others with respect. You do hear some horror stories around bullying and grooming so if you’re letting them use social media, be careful. Another concern of ours is that they may watch something not appropriate on sites like YouTube. Often what starts as watching an education video can turn into seeing weird videos due to an algorithm. Look for ways to turn on parental features on whichever app you are using.
Give Them a Crash Course
They teach a lot of it in school, but it can be hit and miss. Don’t let them discover it for themselves. Show them what clickbait looks like. Explain to them what a virus is and how it works. You can highlight how there are people out there who will try to blackmail people over the internet and hackers who want to steal data. You can show them how to create a good password and generally teach them to be safe online. In the first instance you can even give them a list of approved sites until you think they’ll be OK on their own. Remember, the parental lock is really important in this regard. You can enable it by calling your provider and getting it set up or look to using a third-party product to block out harmful sites from your child’s device.
Watch Out for Their Health
The internet is addictive. Think about it. You’ve got the whole world at your fingertips. Knowledge of all kinds right there for the taking, along with the ability to chat to people and play games. You can’t blame them for wanting to use it in all of its forms. However, you have to be disciplined. Staring at the screen all day won’t be good for them. If you see them squinting or struggling be sure you consider taking them to an eye clinic to get checked out. Our doctor advises us to limit screen time to also prevent disrupting their sleep. You also need to ensure they’re getting their physical exercise. While socializing in all forms is great, playing games over the internet simply isn’t the same as playing some team sports with friends. Ensure they stay healthy in all ways as best you can.
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Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.