The online world can be a dangerous place; as adults, we understand this clearly. However, our kids aren’t so clued into what can happen to them when they share too much online, or visit websites that aren’t healthy for them, or start talking to strangers on a regular basis. As parents, it’s our job to teach them what’s right and wrong about these things, and make sure they stay safe no matter what they get up to online.
However, seeing as the modern world is ever evolving, it can be harder than ever to keep your kids safe when they’re using the internet. From online schooling to connecting with their friends in online games, who really knows what’s happening in between? Well, here are some tips on making sure you keep up your child’s online habits, and make sure they’re always safe when in front of a screen.
Monitor Your Kids Screen Time
Screen Time is something most kids are allocated these days, as it’s not a great idea to let anyone under the age of 18 sit in front of a computer or console all day long. And as such, kids like to cram a lot into their allocated time using screens, whether this be instant messaging, online gaming, or simply surfing the web.
But during these moments, make sure you know what your kid gets up to – you can ask them outright, if you expect them to be honest with you, and you can also use some parental controls that come inbuilt in most forms of technology these days.
Indeed, you can even download an app that could help you to keep up with who your child is talking to, or what websites they’ve visited. Using a free trial of a popular background tracking app, you could be instantly alerted if your child visits a ‘banned’ website, which will help you to keep them safe when they’re online, especially if they’re 14 or younger and don’t know any better.
After all, many kids can stumble upon sites by accident, and without any fault on their part, see and hear things that just aren’t good for them at such a young age. And if you don’t monitor their screen time, they can go back to check these sites out again when they’re next allowed on. Kids can get very curious, after all.
Make Sure They Understand What Can Happen Online
Finally, if you really want to be sure that your child is aware of how the online world can affect them, be sure to have an honest and open conversation with them about the dangers of the internet. Don’t hold back here, but don’t go overboard; you need to get the message across, but you definitely don’t want to scar your child for life!
First, set some boundaries. Make sure your kids know what they can and can’t do online, and what you expect of them. If there are rules in place from the start, they’re far less likely to break them.
Then, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about, before you go in depth about what could happen online. Then, make sure you’re talking about age appropriate levels of internet safety – you wouldn’t talk to an 8 or 9 year old in the same way you would talk to a 15 or 16 year old! After all, an older teenager can learn how to get around parental controls, and trying to enforce these on them might just be a waste of time.
Most of all, make sure your child knows they can come to you whenever something online has upset or angered them. Make sure they know you’re a source of safety, no matter their age, and that they can tell you all about what’s been going on without any fear of judgement or punishment. Even as adults, the internet can sucker us in, so make sure your kids feel they have a healthy and supportive offline relationship to rely on.
What to Keep in Mind
In order to protect your family online, it’s a good idea to monitor what they get up to. Make sure your kids have boundaries to follow, an allocated amount of screen time, and fully understand what can happen to them when they’re active in the online world. All in all, implement a policy of honesty about the internet, and make sure your kids are always comfortable to share what they come across with you.
Carla is the founder of MyBump2Baby. Carla has a huge passion for linking together small businesses and growing families. Carla’s humorous, non-filtered honesty has won the hearts of thousands of parents throughout the UK.
She has previously written for the Metro and made appearances on BBC News, BBC 5 live, LBC etc. Carla is a finalist for Blogger of the Year award with Simply Ladies inc. Carla is also the host of the popular Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast and The MyBump2Baby Expert podcast.