Kids nowadays are born pliant with the technological atmosphere –give them an Ipad and they’re all set! – It became more of a natural scene to notice a six-year-old kid walking around with a smart device in his hands. Well… welcome the 21st century. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s very smart to know how to use smart devices correctly at a very young age! However, the pros of something are always followed with several cons.
Children grow fast, right?! As years follow each other, like it or not, your children will gradually and naturally be introduced to the online world. Alternatively, they may already be used to using certain trusted websites and apps or using social networking sites.
Along with time, they will become online veterans. They will become experts at knowing the way to games, apps, all kinds of websites, downloading and social networking –chances are, they might better at it than you!—however, they don’t realize that no matter how smart they are, their experience in life is nothing like yours. They still don’t have the wisdom you have to encounter all the situations that may occur to them.
So… your role as a parent, or a relative, or even a teacher, is to figure out how to protect your child and teach him how to use their smart devices in a smart way.
We offer you 9 ways to help you out with that, keep reading to find out more.
1. Discuss online safety
One of the first things you should do is to discuss internet safety with your kids –if they’re old enough–. Don’t just throw at them a computer with full access to the internet without saying a word. try to introduce your child to the online world step by step and help them define and understand the different concepts of the internet, that way, safety wouldn’t be such a hard thing to maintain.
2. Don’t let them browse unaccompanied
A’right… this might sound a little heavy. Nobody wants to feel supervised and restricted, even children. But, some things are just necessary. You don’t have to follow your kid with every little screen touch, just be around. And if you have to leave them alone with the device, then you may consider locking the internet access to eliminate any kind of dangers.
3. Warn them about the risks
It is very important to warn your children about the risks. So what you have to do is to put on a small list of the things that may cause harm if they browse irresponsibly.
Here are some of the risks your kids should be warned about:
- Inappropriate contacts: Some people wish to abuse, exploit or bully them.
- Commercialism: being the target of some wicked marketing messages.
- Inappropriate conduct: getting influenced and encouraged by some sort of bad/ inappropriate behaviors online.
- Inappropriate content: getting exposed to some sexual; racist, violent; extremist or other harmful content.
- Gaining access to personal info: Some internet users are able to access personal info on computers such as photos, videos, important documents, and even financial details.
- Enabling viruses to access the system
4. Set up some rules
Here is a tip: take a piece of paper and write down a “staying safe rules” then ask your kid to sign that paper as a family contract for online safety.
- I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number without my parents’ permission.
- I will tell my parents right away if I come across something that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I will never agree to get together with someone I “meet” online without first checking with my parents.
- I will talk with my parents about posting pictures of myself or others online and not post any pictures that my parents consider to be inappropriate.
- I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away.
- I will not give out my passwords to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
- I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or mobile device or jeopardize my family’s privacy.
5. Get involved
Don’t hesitate to walk your kid through the browsing process, try to involve yourself in the activities your kids like to do online. In other words, befriend your kid; you can work together, play a game together or learn something together; it will allow you to control and supervise your kid without feeling like a spy.
6. Keep communication open
If you keep the communication between you and your kids open, they won’t be afraid to let you know if something went wrong. Always open the door for questions and recommendations; it will build honesty between you.
7. Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts
A lot of operating systems allow you to create a different user account for each user, so what you have to do is to create a separate account for your kids to decrease the amount of access to yours.
8. Implement parental control
For example, Internet Explorer allows you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find those options, click “Tools” on your menu bar, select “Internet Options”, choose the Content “tab”, and click the “Enable…” button under Content “Advisor”.
If you use other browsers, search the internet for how to implement parental control.
9. Use your browser for filtering
Internet Explorer has Content Advisor (under Tools/Internet Options/Content), which filters out language, nudity, sex, and violence on a 0 to 4 scale. Netscape and Safari (for Mac users) have parental controls like filtering as well.