Are we endorsing the proper online safety rules for kids in this social era? Doing enough to filter the content that our children can see on the web? Actively protecting their privacy? When it comes to children, online safety is a priority. I wanted to discuss here with your about to do to protect our little ones from the web’s dark corners.
I have a daughter in that age where everything that comes out from a tablet or a console becomes her only focus. You can see that look in her eyes of enchantment. However, this clashes in my head with the stats that I read online about online safety rules for kids.
Sexual crimes related or originated through Internet with children as victims are on the rise. Recent statistics show that children between the ages of 11 and 13 are most at risk, but there are cases where the victims are only 3 years old. For all these reasons it is time to make online security a priority for parents whose children access the Internet. Children and adolescents need help from us to understand how to stay safe when they surf online.
Online security is as important as much as it is the offline one. Internet is a great resource for children. Where they can play, learn, create, and even maintain contact with friends and relatives. At the same time, as I was writing above, for us (parents) it is also a source of concern and fear. Especially because it is difficult to follow the continuous changes in the digital world hence identify what’s a threat and what is not.
Child safety and therefore online safety rules for kids first of all, even on the web. From checking on YouTube videos to parental controls, here I listed some tips to protect our kids when they browse from a PC, tablet or smartphone to be aware and cautious of the interaction they have with these devices.
A survey conducted in USA by the Center for Child Health in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Pediatrics Council, shows that one every five children comes into contact with the mobile phone even his/her first year of life. Between 3 and 5 years the 80% are already able to use it. This despite the fact that every Pediatric association does not recommend any use of smartphones before the age of 10 and sometime even moved to 12.
First of all, talk openly and regularly with your kids about what they do online and the importance of the online safety rules for kids. In the same way you ask them how was their day at school. This is the best way to protect them. You can see any problems, encouraging them to confide in you if they feel worried or only confused.
It is important to be sure that you let them understand what they can and cannot share online. Explain them unequivocally that you need to be informed about any information they would like to share offline. In this regard it can be helpful to ask them: “Would you give your phone to a stranger on the street to check it?”
Then pass to explain what personal information are, such as name, address, password, email, phone number, and why they are important. With this laid down first, it’ll be easier to explain why it is important to choose usernames that do not contain personal information.
To address the problem of the online predators without being to explicit, Illustrate them the fact that pictures convey an idea of their own personality that can be easily misunderstood by strangers and therefore they must remember to never share any. It’s OK to share pictures with family members but you’ll inform them that you’ll take care of that.
Continue clarifying that not all those who are online are really as they appear, so they must be careful in sharing thoughts and feelings with people who know only virtually.
In this type of discussion you must always remain positive and show that you understand that Internet is a great resource but, at the same time, they need to feel you as their safe bay where to seek refuge in case of situations that scare them.
Creating family rules is a good way to start managing online security. With defined rules children understands what behavior is appropriate when they are on Internet. They’ll see the rules for themselves and the rules for the adults to which everyone will have to abide. It is necessary to make sure that the rules are clear, always up to date and that they take into account the growth, desires and maturity of your kids.
In the family rules you can describe which sites can be opened and by whom, at what time they can browse online, when to ask permission before downloading apps or spending money online. It is also a good practice to explore the digital world together, showing the system you use to consider apps and sites reliable.
As a parent, there are so many actions you can take for your children’s online safety. You can control the privacy settings of the house devices, use family filters and digital tools to c
ontrol sites, allowing your children to experience the web safely. Even the most harmless online research can lead to results that are not exactly what expected, but the filters for minors are able
to block those search results. Filters can also keep inappropriate content away from them and are very easy to install. There are very effective and useful software and tools to make sure that when our kids use smartphones, tablets and computers they do in a controlled way.
Discuss the online safety while remaining always positive. Your purpose is to educate them and lead them to grow up as conscious people able to discern what’s good and what is not by themselves.
In conclusion, although it is a difficult subject to tackle, I hope that whit these tips and your attitude towards the online world you can demonstrate to your kids that you have trust and confidence in them and that you truly believe that together as a family you’ll all be able to make the best out of the marvelous sea of knowledge that it the web.