In this day and age, kids online are exposed to all kinds of things and monitoring their internet access is both harder and more important than ever. Between extensive school, home, and on-the-go use, most children are now even more tech savvy than their parents.
While it can be tempting to use blocks and filters to heavily monitor your child’s internet usage, this can create distrust and make them more inclined to try and find prohibited and inappropriate content in other ways.
Although there are safety risks associated with internet use, it is also an incredible tool for your child to share, play, and learn.
Below are our top tips to help protect your kids online.
1. Have an open discussion
Sitting your child down and engaging them in a conversation about online safety is a good place to start. Express any concerns that you might have and ask them to do the same.
You can open up the conversation by mentioning something of interest you have read about internet safety and asking them if they’ve come across it.
2. Get involved
Instead of giving your child the iPad to keep them quiet while you’re off doing something else, try treating screen time the same way you would a bedtime story.
Exploring their interests with them and getting interactive will help to protect your kids online. It creates valuable bonding time while making sure that the content they are viewing is age appropriate.
3. Keep up to date and informed
The internet is constantly evolving with new websites and apps gaining popularity at different times. It’s important to educate yourself and stay up to date with the latest trends as chances are your child is getting involved with them.
4. Communicate with other parents
Making sure that you’re on the same page as your child’s friends when it comes to internet safety is key. Your children will be spending time together and, especially while they’re young and impressionable, bad internet practices can spread quickly amongst friend groups.
Discuss any ideas or concerns you may have with other parents – you’ll probably find they have the exact same ones, and you can brainstorm to come up with a joint solution to protect your kids online.
5. Create healthy boundaries
6. Schedule screen free time before bed
Set a certain time in the evening when all electronics must be turned off. This erases the urge to aimlessly scroll through Facebook or play one more game.
Using technology before bed not only encourages kids to go to bed later, it has also been proven to disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and sleeping schedule.
7. Be a good example yourself
Your children see everything you’re doing and want to emulate it so ensure that you’re setting a good example for your little ones while they’re in your presence. If you are constantly texting and scrolling while they’re trying to talk to you, they’ll be under the impression that this is okay.
Sadly, in this day and age, too many children feel the need to compete with technology for their parent’s attention.
8. Set permissions
If all else fails, there are some great programs out there that use password protection and filters to ensure internet safety for you and your children.
Children will always be curious about the world around them and it is in their nature to want to explore and gain knowledge. It is important that we don’t dull this spark, but instead, encourage it while ensuring that it is happening in a safe environment.
Interaction and communication are key if you want to protect your kids online – this allows you to have more valuable one-on-one time with them and inspires them to be more open about their internet usage.
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