In this digital age when almost everything is available online, the internet is a fabulous educational tool for children as well as an option for harmless entertainment. Not everything on the internet is harmless, however—so how can you best protect your kids?
Discuss Online Safety Early
Kids are growing up in a world in which technology plays a crucial part, so keeping them offline is not a sustainable solution. You need to emphasize the discussion of online safety with children as soon as they have the capacity to use the internet. Just as you teach children not to touch the stove, run out into the street, or talk to strangers, you need to show them that the internet is not without consequences.
In the beginning, you should not let your children use technology on their own, but eventually you will not be able to monitor everything they do. When you explain the dangers and detriments to your kids at the outset, you give them a healthy understanding of how they should and should not use the internet.
Be Constantly Involved at First
During a child's initial exposure to the internet, you should supervise him closely and help him implement all of your instructions for cyber safety. The internet is a dangerous tool if not used properly. Just as you would never leave a child alone with a knife to cut his own food until you can see that he knows how to handle the tool well, you should stay next to your child and make sure that nothing goes wrong as he learns how to maneuver online.
Sticking close initially gives you the perfect interactive opportunity to show your kids how to handle questionable or inappropriate content. You can teach them the parallels between the real world and the online world, show them what is safe for them and what poses a threat, and prove that you are there to help them solve whatever problems they run into further down the road. You can also teach them how passwords, internet security, block pages, and other safeguards are there for their protection.
Keep Electronics Out in the Open
Once your child can get online without supervision, she will have a world of temptations opening up before her. Computers in the bedroom, smartphones with unlimited wi-fi, unrestricted access to game consoles, and more can create bad habits even before your child has complete access to the web. Even if she does not find any explicit content, you will serve her best if you train her to use the internet so she will expect that other people can see what she is doing. Putting all her electronic devices in the open means she will have a hard time being secretive about what she does online.
Find a Reliable Filter
Because keeping your child from seeing destructive material or engaging in problematic activities is so vital, there are numerous options available for filtering content and blocking inappropriate sites. Although some internet filters are complicated to set up, the benefits are staggering. Protecting your child's innocence is worth the time spent finding the right filter and installing it.
You can even use the filtering systems to reinforce the cyber safety rules you have set in place. Pebble Park Kids offers fun, educational images that include reminders of important internet rules so that every time your child runs into a blocked page, he is given another quick lesson in how to use the internet properly.
You can make a lasting impact on your children by your dedication to protect them online. The next generation will depend upon technology in day-to-day life, and right now, you have the power to make sure that your children are equipped to navigate the world-wide web without harm. Your kids will thank you later.