You may believe that your children are safe on the internet, but come to think of it, are they really safe from the perils of the dark side of the internet? Well, we do not think so.
Every now and then, we hear and read stories of children experiencing various online threats in the form of cyberbullying, exposure to pornography and other explicit content, as well as interaction with pedophiles.
Shedding some light on the current situation, the statistics have also proved how alarming things have become. One out of three children has been a victim of cyberbullying. On the other hand, one out of four children has been exposed to viewing pornographic material on the internet.
Parents have always taught their children about various life ethics and morals. It’s time they also taught them the pros and cons of being online. Children should know how to keep themselves safe on the internet. For instance, they should know what accepting a request from an unknown person might put them at a great risk. The risk of that person being a pedophile who targets them, shares their personal pictures without their permission or gains their confidence enough so they can come to meet him in person.
To keep children far away from such online risks, parents need to follow some simple ways in order to give their children a safer online experience. While seeking help from the parental control apps, they should also work on keeping the lines of communication open with their children.
Here are some simple ways to keep your children harmless on the internet.
Make Use of Parental Controls
This is the first step that you, as a parent, can take to keep your children safer on the internet. With parental control apps or software at your disposal, you can keep a track of your children’s online activity and instantly find out if something is amiss. You can install these parental controls on your children’s devices – desktops, laptops, or mobile phones, and then keep a check on their web browsing activity including communication with others. These parental controls also help you track their location.
Put No Ban on Devices
Most of the parents may believe that putting a complete or partial ban on the devices will not let their children have exposure of the internet sphere. By doing this, the use of the internet will only become more appealing in their eyes. A majority of children get to use computers at schools or other devices at their friends’ places. Therefore, imposing a ban on the devices might not be a fruitful plan. Instead, you should allow your children limited screen-time at home and educate your children about safe and responsible browsing. If you tell them which games or websites are safe to use, they would listen to you and follow accordingly.
Stay Close When They’re Online
Usually, it should be a norm for your children to use all the devices in the main room of the house especially where you are present. They shouldn’t be allowed to use the devices in their bedrooms or any other private area of the house. When children play games or interact with their friends online while keeping in mind that their activity is constantly being monitored by you, they will automatically refrain from doing anything inappropriate. Therefore, it is important to remain close to your children when they’re using devices on the internet.
Spread Awareness Among Children
Communicating with your children and shedding some light on the internet dangers is quite effective. Allowing your children to distinguish between what’s appropriate and what’s not on the internet can help them stay away from wrongdoings. You should make them learn and follow all the safety tips while being online. For instance, tell them not to accept requests from strangers and also not respond to any of their messages. Moreover, teach them how to block or report someone online. Also, it’s highly significant to explain them the meaning of their online privacy. Your children should know how to keep their personal information – their pictures, videos, and other content – private on the internet, especially social media accounts. However, if you feel you’re not able to communicate with your children on a particular topic, make them watch films to help them understand about various online dangers and how to fight against them.