The internet is a great thing. It’s changed the world in so many ways, with some big advances in how we gather information and entertain ourselves – especially compared to when we were younger. Today’s kids grow up in a world where they’ve never known anything but the internet, and they’re introduced to it at a very young age these days.
But despite all of the good things that exist about the internet, there are of course some dangers that come with it. While you’ll want your child to be independent and learn for themselves, it’s important to teach them about the dangers of the internet at a young age and keep them from harm online.
Take a look at some advice for helping your kids stay safe on the internet and feel more at ease when your kids spend time online.
Talk about it at an early age
Kids are starting to use the internet at a much early age. How many babies have got to grips with YouTube by using their parents’ phones or tablets? If you’re ready to introduce these devices to your children, then you need to be able to talk about using them safely. Make sure you talk to your kids about using the internet safely. Talk to them about what it should be used for and what it shouldn’t be used for, but try not to frighten them too much or spark curiosity about things they shouldn’t be looking at.
If technology and the internet are a normal part of your family life, then it’s important to make those discussions normal too.
It’s too easy for kids to spend hours of time online, but you need to discourage this behavior so that it doesn’t affect their school work, chores and spending time with friends. Setting limits is a sensible option, as this can help combat the addictiveness of mobile phones and technology and help retain some normality at home. You can change the password of your WiFi router easily to stop any unauthorized use and to make sure those limits stay in place.
Install security measures
One way to make sure that your kids stay as safe as possible online is to install the right security measures. You could question if monitoring your child’s phone is good parenting, but in many cases it will depend on the child themselves. You can put parental controls on browsers, devices and even applications like Netflix to stop your kids looking at anything they shouldn’t, or unwittingly installing some viruses or malware. Start by installing a virus protection program that will keep your computer and data safe. You can also learn more about software that helps monitor iPhone usage to keep an eye on the content that your kids are accessing from their phones. With the right tools in place, you can feel much more at ease when it comes to the internet.
Encourage other activities
Spending time online is now as common for kids as going outside to play ball in the street or park. You might be wondering why you need to limit your kids’ phone use, but it’s good for them to develop other hobbies and interests that don’t involve staring at a screen. Encourage sport and physical activity to help your kids stay fit and active, while also encouraging some after school clubs they can join. Try to get everyone out of the house at the weekend so that you can all enjoy spending time together and not simply share a couch with everyone tapping away at their phones.
Demonstrate good habits yourself
Kids will observe your behaviors much more than you might realize. If you’re always on your phone or laptop, you could unwittingly be sending the message that this is normal behavior. Set a good example to your kids on social media and when using your phone to make sure they don’t see overuse as normal, and to show them that enjoyment can come from other things. It might take some restraint on your part, but you’ll feel much better for it.
Teaching your kids about staying safe online is one of the most important lessons you can teach today. They’ll be using the internet for school, for socializing, etc., and it’s important that they learn to use it safely and confidently. Part of equipping your kids with the right knowledge comes from understanding it yourself, so make sure you give your kids the help they need by staying up to date on the latest products and developments so that you’re always ahead of the game.
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