The internet is a powerful tool for education. To keep your kids safe online, you need to be aware of the risks they are taking. It is important to have a conversation with your kids about how their digital footprint can affect them in the future. Let’s discuss how to teach your child to use the internet safely.
Because let’s face it, as welcoming and useful as the internet is, there are certain risks that can make the internet an unsafe place. Thankfully a lot of children are educated in being able to access the internet safely nowadays, but there are still ways you can help your child in what to do when they’re browsing the web.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post
The Benefits of the Internet and Education
Studies suggest that students who use the internet for school assignments actually do better in school than those who don’t. With the worldwide pandemic that forced schools to close, schools resorted to homeschooling children using the internet to keep kids informed, educated and connected to the teachers and classmates. I think we can all agree that without the internet it would have been an even more difficult situation for many.
The flip side is that kids on the internet mean kids are on social media too. Every single social media platform has been used by cyberbullies to harass, intimidate, and threaten children. This has led some parents to take more extreme measures by getting their children off of social media altogether. While this might seem like a good idea on paper, some experts believe that it could make things more difficult for your child’s mental health as they may feel isolated from friends and family as well as at risk for addiction from video
How to Teach Your Child To Use The Internet Safely
Here, in this guide from an independent school in Hampshire, we take a look at how you can make sure your child is safe when they’re online.
Show them the importance of not sharing personal information
Sensitive data, such as addresses, email addresses and even bank information is risky business when you’re online. Educate your child in only sharing information with people they trust and how harmful it can be to your child if they do share information they shouldn’t be. Criminals can gain this information easily if they’re not careful; make them aware of the consequences.
Teach your child about respect online
At some stage, your child will be using social media and talking to their friends on a regular basis. Children can be tempted to put down others when online, or they can even be the victim of cyberbullying themselves. In either case, training your child to be respectful is a key way of showing them how to be courteous and kind when they’re online. Similarly, remind them that they can talk to you about any concerns they have about behaviour online.
In the same breath here, you should always remind your child to be respectful of themselves and to never do anything that they feel uncomfortable doing, especially when it comes to talking to strangers or sharing pictures of themselves.
Set boundaries for your child early on
Depending on how old your child is in the first place, you may need to set restrictions. For instance, children need to be a certain age before they’re allowed to use most social media platforms. When they’re teenagers, children want to explore a lot more and boundaries should still be set to ensure they’re still browsing safely online.
A lot of internet providers allow safety measures to be set up for children until they’re old enough to make better decisions. As a parent, it is your responsibility to learn how the platforms work, and how their parent and family control works, and to put them in place from the beginning.
There is a growing belief amongst experts that too much screen time can be detrimental to a child’s mental health. They may feel isolated from friends and family and at risk of developing an addiction. Online addiction counseling can help children to overcome these difficulties and develop healthy habits.
Keep The Online Space Mutually Respectful With Your Child
Parents should avoid creating a digital divide between themselves and their children, as this divide will only lead to more issues down the line. In order to learn how to use technology safely, children need to be part of the conversation with their parents from an early age. This goes both ways too. Your children need to see you using the internet and technology responsibly so that they learn right from wrong.
I hope these tips have helped you to see how you might be able to teach your child to use the internet safely. In today’s world, it’s imperative that we start as we mean to go on with our kids and their internet usage.