3 Ways to Protect Your Children Online

Your children may be spending a lot more time online if your family is stranded at home due to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak. So many activities have moved online, including school, discussions with friends and relatives, and even music lessons.

Children and teenagers who are linked are motivated to carry on with their lives and help lessen the effects of this new normal. However, it also brings a fresh set of difficulties for every parent. 

How can you make use of everything the internet has to offer while reducing any potential risks?

Even on a regular day, it’s difficult to maintain this balance, much less when dealing with a health emergency like COVID-19.

  1. Communicate openly with your child and learn about their online friends.

As soon as your child begins using the internet, have a dialogue with them about what they are reading, viewing, and communicating with online. As they become older, continue the conversation.

Ask your child about the websites or apps they use, make a list, and then go over it with them. Talk to your child about what you believe to be appropriate while letting them know that other parents’ views on this may differ from yours.

Decide what is best for your family after listening to your child. You want them to be prepared for the day when they need to access the internet safely from home, so keep that in mind.

It is also important to teach kids about their online reputation. Stressing that people should be careful about how they act, talk, and present themselves in such a public setting. They should never forget that the internet is open to everyone.

You should be aware of your child’s surroundings and company.

Adults are aware that not everyone they interact with online is who they claim to be. While the kids and teenagers who have not been educated to be cyber-savvy from a young age can be alarmingly naive about who they are communicating with.

Ensure that you make friends and contacts in your child’s social media networks and that you keep an eye on their posts. Although they could object, let them know that’s one of the conditions for you to provide them access.

  1. Use technology to protect them and spend time with them online.

Check that your child’s gadget has the most recent antivirus software installed and that privacy settings are turned on. When not in use, cover webcams. Tools like parental controls, which include safe search, can make younger children’s internet experiences good.

When using free internet learning resources, use caution. Never make it necessary for your youngster to enter a photo or their entire name to access these websites. Regularly check the privacy settings to reduce data collection. Give your youngster advice on how to protect their personal information, especially from strangers.

  • Give your child the chance to communicate online safely and positively with friends, family, and you.
  • Connecting with others is more important than ever right now, and you have a wonderful opportunity to do so in your “virtual interactions” by showing kindness and empathy.
  • Help your child identify and stay away from inaccurate information and inappropriate content for their age that can make them more anxious about the COVID-19 virus.
  • You may educate yourself and your child about the virus using the many digital materials available from reputable organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Spend some time with your child to determine whether online games, apps, and other entertainment are suitable for their age.

  1. Maintain Control of Your Family’s Digital Presence and Keep Track of Online Time

Every image and piece of private information shared on social media and the internet leaves a digital trail behind its owner. The main danger here is that once information is made public, it might be utilized in ways you didn’t intend and that you can’t control.

Additionally, you should consider anything posted online to be permanent (it can sometimes be deleted, but not always before others have seen it and saved it).

  • Children and young people must be careful to safeguard their photographs and information for this reason. The same holds for parents who frequently upload photos of their kids online.
  • Teach your child to limit their sharing to those they know and trust to maintain control over their digital footprint. Instead of sharing with all of their friends, advise them to be selective and use the privacy settings on the social networking sites they use.
  • The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines say that kids between the ages of 5 and 17 shouldn’t spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your child’s internet activity, especially if they’re younger. Make sure they don’t pick up any harmful habits.

  • Set a timer and have your kids agree on a duration, such as 30 minutes for every session. Don’t forget to establish a non-negotiable end time.
  • To give everyone a “time-out” from the internet, you should also turn off the home Wi-Fi at a predetermined hour every night (ideally before bedtime).
  • You can also try making some days in your home “screen-free” to encourage everyone to find other ways to have fun that are more active or don’t involve technology.

Final Words

As children become older, keeping tabs on their online activity becomes a little more challenging. They might always have a smartphone with them. They likely need and desire some privacy. They are getting more independent from their parents; therefore, it is healthy and normal. If measures are taken, the Internet can offer a secure “virtual” setting for exploring some newly discovered freedom.

Discuss the websites and apps that teenagers use, as well as their online activities. Talk about the risks of connecting with strangers online and remind them that not all internet users are honest. Describe how passwords are used to prevent issues like identity theft. 

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