How to help your kids stay safe online?

January 20, 2020

Digital technologies have already changed the world as more and more people go online all around the world. UNICEF study on the impact of digital technologies on children suggests that children are using the internet at a relatively younger age. Children and adolescents under the age of 18 accounts for one in three internet users around the world.

As the usage of  the internet has grown at an alarming rate, it has become a major force to impact our everyday lives in so many ways. It’s no wonder digital technologies are a boon to mankind as it brings so many opportunities for communication and learning new things. On the other hand, it has become a potential threat to our children’s mental health and happiness. Researchers acknowledge that the excessive use of digital technologies is creating various problems such as mental health issues led by bullying, cybercrime, internet trolling, phishing and online harassment issues to our children.

Ensuring your children stay safe online has become challenging for the majority of parents. It’s not practical to monitor their online activities every minute of your day, so how do you help your kids stay safe online?

Here are practical tips for you to ensure that your kids stay safe online and have a positive experience on the internet.

Prioritise Online Safety

Parents should have an open conversation about online safety with their children. Parents should educate children about not sharing their personal information online. For instance, their passwords, name, address, telephone number, location, schools, to name a few. Besides, they should talk about safe and unsafe things that exist on the internet, and the possible consequences. For instance, explain to your kids about using different passwords for different accounts, how to create strong passwords to keep their account safe and not sharing their personal information with outsiders.

Be aware of the websites your children are visiting frequently. If you find any inappropriate websites they are in, you should have a healthy discussion about the pros and cons, and communicate the valid reason why you are setting control on them. Oftentimes, children can access explicit content or inappropriate content that pop on screens. So, parents can use web protection software to ensure internet safety and help your kids stay safe online.  For instance, here is a list of parental control software and website blocker to help your kids stay safe online.

Check the apps on your kids mobile device

Make sure your kids are using mobile apps safely. You may or may not be aware of this, there are secret apps that looks like a regular app where you can hide all the photos, videos, contacts and more. Secret Calculator app, for example, which looks like a calculator app in mobile device, but allows you to save secret bookmarks within the app. 

Now, children are getting more tech-savvy, and they can easily fool you as there are many apps similar to secret apps that allow children to hide their online activities. So, if you are concerned about helping your kids stay safe online, you should make them aware of the potential threats that might occur when sending private photos and videos. Moreover, you can check the apps on your kids mobile device. Here is a quick way to detect secret apps. Go to the App Store or the Playstore and type the word ‘secret’ or ‘calculator’ into the search engine. If they have downloaded any of these apps, an ‘open’ option will be available, if they don’t, a ‘get’ option will appear on your device. 

Talk with your children

Helping your kids stay safe online is great. Most importantly,  have an open conversation with your kids and build a trusting relationship with them.

 So, make time to talk with your children about how they are using technology, their social media use, type of websites they browse and the information they are accessing on the internet. If they have their own social media profile, parents should know about their online activities, the type of images and videos they share online and the people your child is talking to.

As a parent, the most important job is to make your child feel comfortable sharing information with you. Oftentimes, your children might be very embarrassed to talk about their problems. To ensure your kids stay safe online, you must have a conversation with your child especially if they are bullied or receiving any inappropriate messages from strangers. If anything goes wrong, you must ensure your children you are there to listen to them without any judgement and help them stay safe online.

Besides, you can use some creative approaches to educate your child about cybersecurity. For instance, The Cynja is a comic book written for children to teach them about cybersecurity and help them stay safe online.

Set boundaries

If you are worried about your children spending too much time on the internet, you should set time limits on internet usage and the time they spend on playing online games. You can set specific hours or time to browse the internet for every week. It is important to set “unplugged” time for family and other social activities. Following the expert’s recommendation, it is advisable that children under the age of 11 should not be allowed to be online for more than 2 hours per day. Moreover, parents should set a ground rule about do’ s and don’ts of the online world,  so that children are more aware of using the internet consciously for their own well being. In addition, you should also monitor your children’s online activities. Although you might think you are being a strict parents, but you can change the way and you can make it interesting by being part of their online activities, like watching informative videos and learning new skills alongside them. For instance, you can play video games with your kids and encourage learning and social interactions at the same time. Moreover, you can teach gaming etiquette, sportsmanship, and share valuable life lessons they can learn from playing video games.

The excessive use of digital technologies can disconnect you from loved ones, and create a feeling of loneliness. In many scenarios, parents are disconnecting from having an engaging conversation with family members as they are getting busier in their own online activities. So parents should also pay attention to their own online habits and should prioritise spending more time with family members. Moreover, they should set an example to their kids because kids are more likely to imitate behaviour from their parents. Being a good role model, being part of their journey- joking, talking and interacting with them, will create a deeper bond between you and your kids.

It’s true that no one is 100% safe on the internet. However, it’s not impossible to protect your kids from internet threats and help them stay safe online. Technology is moving fast so is the digital trend. It’s equally important to keep informed about new trends in technology for parents so that they can teach their children smart internet habits and help them stay safe online. At Samriddhi School, we are promoting internet safety awareness in our school for our students. We understand the vital role that the school does play to induce positive influence and behaviour in our students’ lives.  Samriddhi School,one of the best schools in Kathmandu, is committed to inspire and motivate students to achieve the highest standards of intellectual development as well as personal growth, through a stimulating and comprehensive STEAM educational programme. 

For more information about our school in Kathmandu, please visit our website or Contact us 014390590/ 4383777.

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