Is your child spending too much time on the internet? Do you know what sites they are accessing while they are online? Internet safety for kids is of the utmost importance, more so now than ever before. Read on to see tips on Internet safety for kids.
The Importance of Internet Safety
Recent research shows that many parents have maintained strict rules and regulations about using the internet, but only a small number of parents keep a check on their children’s internet activity. More than half of the children and teenagers observed in the survey claimed that they didn’t need parent’s approval for using the internet. In fact, many of them were spending far more time on the internet than needed. Although there is no doubt that the internet is an educational tool, it can also endanger your child. In fact, something upsetting could be happening right under your roof.
If you want to keep our child safe then it is vitally important for you as a parent to be involved in their lives and honor open communication roles. Talk openly about what they are doing on the internet and let them know that you will be checking in their search history and apps. As parents, it is our role to do our due diligence about internet security with our impressionable youth.
Internet Safety Tips For Kids
- The first and most important safety tip for your child is to know that they are never supposed to give out any of their personal information. This includes address of their residence, phone numbers, or where they go to school.
- Always open the gates of communication between you and your child so if they ever feel uncomfortable on the internet they will come to you. Whether this trouble involves them directly or they hear from a friend who is in trouble, they should always feel like you are accessible and open to them coming to you. The more you communicate with your child the better relationship you will develop with them.
- Never EVER make the decision to meet someone face-to-face, no matter what the circumstances are. Always take a parent or a guardian with you when you have planned to meet someone from the internet and always meet in public places. This includes selling a game on Craigslist or checking out a used car. No matter how kind the person behind the screen may seem, a child should know to never schedule a personal meeting with someone over the internet.
- Avoid chat rooms where mostly the conversation topics are of race or religion. Though these topics seem to be really interesting it can put your child in danger. Conversations about charged issues can become questionable quite quickly, so it is best to set your child up for success.
- Always watch your child’s attitude and any unusual changes at home. If they are becoming withdrawn from their family and spending increasing amounts of time on their devices, this could be a cause for concern.
- There is no need to respond to any of the messages or bulletin boards which are sexually offending, daunting, or make your child feel uncomfortable in any way. While this may be uncomfortable for your child to talk with you about, knowing that parents will check in on their devices unannounced could be a deterrent in keeping them away from sexually explicit sites and chat rooms.
Offer Alternatives to Screen Time
Given the current times we are living in, you will find people who will say that they can live without their friends and family but not without their gadgets. Honestly, this is the sad truth. It is a fact that if we are asked to live on an island with only three things, most teenager today would likely say food, Wi-Fi, and their cell phones. Kids these days are more tech-savvy, they love using gadgets and being connected to friends online, and they are more comfortable talking behind a screen than in person.
As parents, what can we do to keep our kids engaged at home without the help of internet? What can we offer that is more enticing than virtual reality and online gaming? Many child experts recommend that parents should indulge in activities with their kids which are fun. Do something creative and unique to gain their interest. Perhaps try cooking together or take a painting class with one another. Children love to cook, they like to be introduced to novelty items. Set a weekend aside to them them know you will be trying new things as a family and have gone screen free. Make fruit cocktails or homemade ice cream. Try making ice cones with the help of a snow cone maker. Ask your child to invite their friends and make it into a treat night with movies. When weather allows, take your family outside. Enjoy a bike ride, a picnic at the park, sand volleyball on a nearby beach, play yard games or go for a swim. Kids might try to hide their love for their parents as they get older, but keep in mind that if traditions are set as a family then they are easier to keep once the parent-child bond is set.
Thanks to Steve from Tenslist for guest posting this article on Mojitos and Munchkins.