Many parents have concerns with allowing their children to use the Internet. Some parents even go to extreme lengths to prevent their children from having access to the Internet. In this article we will look at some things that parents can do to ensure that their children are able to use the internet safely.
1. Parents need to openly talk with their children regarding their daily usage of websites and applications. It is important that your child and you have a common understanding that they can talk openly and freely to you about the things that they encounter on the Internet. There might be issues or information which they may not comprehend fully or may not take a liking to, so it is important they have someone to talk to in order to clear up any misconceptions or confusions they may have.
2. The amount of time your child spends on the internet should be regulated. Stress to children that side effects such as exhaustion, migraines and other ailments can happen if their daily internet usage is excessive. Set a limit of about 1 to 2 hours a day. Their online activity should only form a small part of their daily schedule.
3. Place your computer or laptop in a designated room or space where you can easily observe what your child is doing. This will ensure that you have control on who your child is talking to and you will also be able to see what kind of websites they are visiting. Parents need to lay down ground rules on the maximum amount of time that children can use their cell phones, tablets, laptops and computers. Parents also need to provide strict guidelines on what their children can and cannot do when you are not around to supervise them. Make it a point to ensure that your child does not push these limits.
4. Explain to your child the importance of keeping their personal data safe and secure. Inculcate in them the habit of not providing their name, date of birth, address, identification number or phone number to strangers on the Internet. Let them know that if these strangers get hold of their personal information, it could lead to dangerous consequences for them. You must inform your children that under no circumstances whatsoever should they provide personal photos or video recordings of themselves to strangers on the Internet.
5. Make it a point to remind your child that they should get permission from you before participating in any online contests, clicking on links from strangers or downloading content from the Internet. Educate them that doing so could make their computers exposed to viruses, or even worse, hackers who can steal their most private and sensitive data. Train your child to always keep their Internet passwords and any other confidential information to themselves.
6. As your child grows up, he or she may have tendencies to enter chat rooms on the Internet. Should that happen, always make sure that you are around to supervise them. If you catch them deleting browser histories or browsing in private mode, it could be a sign that your children are trying to hide something from you!
7. An important ground rule which you should implement and ensure that is adhered to at all times is that your child should never schedule any appointments with people whom they have only contacted online.
With access to the Internet being literally a click away on multiple devices that children can likely all over the house, properly educating children on the right way to use the Internet is really the best way to protect them from it.
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