The internet has a lot to offer, and you want your children to experience the best of it. That includes learning and reading about their interests, playing games, watching movies, etc. The problem is that using the web comes with many internet dangers.
It’s normal for parents to supervise their children while they are browsing online. But how to find the right balance and set optimal boundaries? Here are the imperative parental safety supervision tips!
Begin Early and Discover the Internet Together
According to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, over half of the children in grades 4-8 revealed their phone numbers to a stranger. It shows how kids are unaware of the dangers lurking on the web. They might think it’s an innocent chat with a polite and interesting person, but that person could easily be a predator.
The experts recommend discovering the internet together with your children. You can begin early, but choose websites suitable to the kid’s age. Begin with platforms where they can watch cartoons or play simple games. Then, as they become older and more confident, you can proceed to other sites with various contents.
Create Ground Rules and Follow Them
The CDC pinpoints that kids from eight to ten spend six hours daily in front of a screen. While most of the time goes on watching TV, that’s still a lot of hours on the web. Experts recommend sitting down with your child and establishing the ground rules for using the internet and mobile devices.
For example, you could limit smartphone use in a common area. Children would only be able to use it in the living room, ensuring they are in your sight. Some other rules might include:
- How long can they use the internet?
- Is it allowed to use smartphones during mealtimes?
- What should they do if a stranger sends them a message online?
- How to act if someone asks for their personal data?
You can print these rules and hang them in a visible spot. Don’t make them too strict, but cover the basics. Explain they shouldn’t disclose personal information or chat with strangers before getting your approval.
Use Monitoring Apps
Phone monitoring apps can help ensure your kid follows all the rules mentioned in the previous section. It’s also imperative if you don’t have complete confidence that your child behaves well on the web.
Using these tools is simple – pick an Android or iPhone parental control app and install it on your kid’s phone. The software would collect information about device use and deliver it to you. The data includes messages, social media activity, internet history, etc. Monitoring apps can send alerts if they detect using any suspicious language related to violence, suicide, and other sensitive topics. You can even use web filtering and app control to restrict phone use and prevent access to software and sites unsuitable for your children’s age.
Talk to Children and Act as a Guide and Role Model
Your kid will have many new experiences each day when browsing the web. Therefore, it’s critical to establish trust and act as a guide. Show them a couple of tricks on how to use their time online better. Encourage them to ask anything that might be unclear, and emphasize they should turn to you if they notice anything suspicious.
Always be supportive when your kid asks a question about the internet. It’ll strengthen your bond and show them you have their back if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Finally, don’t forget the importance of being a role model. While using the web or playing games together, don’t use bad words or insults. And if there are screen time limitations, respect them and look for a fun alternative to spend time with your kids.
Final Thoughts – Do Pros Outweigh the Cons?
There’s no doubt the answer is yes. The internet is an excellent educational tool that allows learning and pursuing different interests. Children can stay in touch with their friends and enjoy leisure activities like games and movies.
Unfortunately, internet dangers are something they’ll have to learn to understand, and avoid whenever possible. Parents need to continuously work on their education and talk about potential threats. As time goes by, you’ll see your kids applying tips about behaving well on the web, which will help protect them from online dangers!