In fairy tales, the main characters often battle dragons and wicked witches. However, as parents today, more is needed to be aware of visible enemies. We must be familiar with “potential” dangers and prepare our children for various possibilities. Based on this, it may seem that the world is dangerous, and as parents, we need to strengthen our protective functions.
Of course, this is only partially true, as the online world offers numerous opportunities for fun and learning for both parents and children. Like a boy equipped with knowledge embarking on a grand adventure, we must teach our sons and daughters to navigate the challenges of virtual life.
Our parents didn’t pass on this knowledge to us, as the internet didn’t exist in their time. Therefore, we must educate ourselves first. We must know what awaits our children as they enter the online space. Let’s also review our own internet usage habits!
Here are some tips to help you get started on this journey – because your child’s well-being matters.
Be Proactive for Your Kid’s Digital Wellness
Know the apps your kids are using
Ensure that applications are age-appropriate (check the age rating before downloading them) and safe; do your research. Monitoring and understanding these apps will help you know where your child is when staring at the monitor.
Limit your child’s screen time
To maintain a balance between online and offline life, set a reasonable time limit.
Get your child involved in offline activities
Any sports, crafting, dancing, and community services can help ground our kids to improve their self-confidence, social skills, and overall well-being. Encouraging them to participate in physical activities is essential, as they sit in school all day.
Encourage your kids to report online abuse
Teaching our kids to speak up when needed is not betrayal; it is a necessary act to create a safe space for everyone. Asking for help shows strength and bravery and helps develop healthy life values.
Make Secure Choices for Online Safety
Use Strong Passwords
this is tricky, I know. It shouldn’t be easily guessed, and you must remember it. Please, please don’t use Password as your password. Follow the guidelines on how to create a strong password.
Protect Personal Information
date of birth, home address, phone number, or even last name can be sensitive information. Please do not share it with anyone, not even with your bestie. Take a moment to review the privacy settings of your personal information on social media platforms and any other online platform.
Be Skeptical of Strangers Online
people you don’t know personally are strangers. It’s hard to fathom the intentions of strangers online, so be cautious.
Think Before Clicking
Minimize the chances of viruses on your device; don’t open or download unknown links, apps, or attachments.
Cyberbullying is an expression of aggression in the online space, but its effects and consequences are also felt in our offline lives. The good news is we have the power to prepare and handle this kind of situation.
Take Responsibility and Build Trust
Set Up Parental Controls. – Fortunately, we can keep our children safe online, even when we are not present. We can control what they can and can’t see on their device and what online activities they can do.
Understand the Concept of Online Reputation – a new idea, right? A digital footprint is a thing that comes with us wherever we go. Once you put something on the internet, it’s there forever. Over time, these digital traces can affect a child’s school admissions and career opportunities.
Know About Location Services – to stay safe, teach your kids how to handle and limit sharing their current location online. Their real-time location when using social media can be a potential risk.
Check App Permissions: Watch what apps can do on your child’s devices. Make sure they only get access to what’s needed to keep things private and secure.
Trust Your Gut – Never underestimate your parental instincts, and certainly not those of your child! They will learn from us if we can listen to our inner voice and act accordingly. If they can ask you, themselves, their questions first, and not Google, we have a winning case.
+1 Get some help
As parents, we do everything we can for our children, but often it can feel like not enough. There’s no point dwelling on it; it’s a relatively new subject to all of us, so no one will look at you funny if you don’t know something.
When I first started to read about the possible dangers of the internet that could affect my children, I hit the brakes. “Oh, no, we shouldn’t use it at all.”
But then it dawned on me that this was not a good attitude on my part. What do they see at home? Two parents, two phones, two laptops… My principle of “never allowing them to use the internet” seems crumbling. I must let go, but I want to do it wisely and responsibly. For example, with the help of the tips mentioned above.
What else can we do? Reading, researching, asking questions. Just as you are doing right now. Be proud that you took a step forward for your family’s internet safety. Keep up the good work!
And also, have a rest. You deserve 5 minutes and that cold coffee.
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