Helping to keep your child safe is one of the most important responsibilities of a parent. In this regard, it is crucial to have conversations with your child about online safety, bullying, and abuse.
As children embark on their academic journey and engage in extracurricular activities, they are exposed to novel experiences, individuals, and settings. Parents are instrumental in providing the appropriate guidance, support, and boundaries to enable children to navigate these new situations safely, not only online but in-person as well.
It is important to note that not all parents have the same set of boundaries. Therefore, you should decide for yourself at what age it is appropriate for your child to have their own phone or tablet and how much screen time they are allowed.
The safety of children while using the internet is a matter of utmost importance and requires parents to take assertive measures. To monitor their online activities effectively, parents should keep computers, tablets, and phones in shared spaces only. Moreover, the use of parental control software is essential to limit the scope of websites and applications that children can access, including the types of visual and auditory content they encounter.
It is crucial to acknowledge that protecting children from inappropriate online content is not the only factor to consider. Children may inevitably come across pornographic or sexual content, or peers may share such material.
Parents must make clear that this type of content is intended for adults only, not children. Additionally, parents should actively encourage their children to seek help and guidance if they encounter anything online that is confusing or makes them feel uncomfortable. It is equally crucial to discuss the potential hazards of interacting with strangers online.
Parents must insist that their children seek permission before engaging in online conversations with anyone. It is a wise decision to prohibit children from conversing with anyone online whom they have not met in real life. As children grow older, it is necessary to revisit these rules and adjust them accordingly.
If your child spends time at friends' homes where the rules may differ, talk to them about your expectations. Additionally, get to know your child's friends' parents and ensure that you share similar safety values.
Stay involved and be available to your child. Check in with them frequently about their life and listen attentively. Observe their behavior and be aware of changes. Most importantly, let them know that they can always come to you with any concerns or problems they may have.
1. Encourage open communication. Let children know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns they have about online safety.
2. Educate children about potential risks. Explain that not everyone online is who they say they are, and that they should never share personal information with strangers.
3. Set limits. Help children understand that there are boundaries when it comes to online activity, such as not giving out personal information, not visiting certain websites, or not engaging with people they don't know.
4. Monitor activity. Make sure to keep tabs on what your children are doing online, such as who they are talking to and what websites they are visiting.
5. Promote online etiquette. Teach children to be respectful and responsible when communicating online, and explain the consequences of cyberbullying.
6. Get online with your children. Spend time with your children online, so you can help them learn how to safely use the internet.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood shares some other basic rules for staying safe online:
No sharing personal info (like your address or phone number).
Never send pictures of yourself to other people online without parent permission.
Remember that anything you say or put online/in apps could be seen by anybody, anywhere (no matter what kind of privacy settings you use).
And, the Federal Trade Commission says that applying "real-world judgment" can help minimize other online risks that can damage a reputation or hurt someone's feelings.
Remind Kids That Online Actions Have Consequences
Tell Kids to Limit What They Share
Encourage Online Manners
Limit Access to Your Kids’ Profiles
Talk to Kids About What They’re Doing Online