In today’s fast-paced world of technology, the World Wide Web has become a fascinating world of wonder for not only adults but for kids too. With the wide array of electronics - smartphones, tablets, internet-bound game devices, and digital televisions - found in most homes, a child’s access to the online world is almost unavoidable.
Maintaining your child’s safety on the internet can be a very intimidating challenge but there are quite a number of ways you can endeavour to keep your child safe from internet risks.
The following measures can set you on the right track for your chilld's internet safety:
- There is no definite age for a child to begin visiting the web. Parents can determine the right age to get their child started.
- Children can be very inquisitive and an outright ban from going online will only fuel their curiosity; rather, a guided use of the internet is advised.
- Careful supervision of your child’s internet access and usage from the very first day is a key rule. Computers should be kept in the living room or in an open place where your child can connect online under your watchful eyes.
- Guidelines should be set. Age-appropriate sites that are educative and have high learning potentials should be encouraged mainly.
- For older kids, suitable social networks should be agreed on for visits and appropriate content (pictures, videos etc) that can be posted online or downloaded from the internet should be discussed and clearly defined.
- The internet can be very addictive and it is your responsibility to help your child avoid internet addiction. Set time limits like the time of the day to go online, and duration.
- Develop interests in the fun things your child does online and take time out to be a part of it too. This way you are kept abreast of your child’s online activities and can carefully guide him/her aright.
- It is your right as a parent to manage your child’s online participation. So get involved; if your child has social network accounts, know the people s/he chats with. Ask relevant questions if need be, and cautiously educate your kid not to be too trusting; it’s easy for people to lie online about who they really are.
- Always encourage your child never to disclose private information online (name, age, phone numbers, residential address, name of school), and to never make attempts to meet any online friend physically without getting apt approval from you.
As digital evolution increases by the day, parental control apps and software are becoming very common. With these programs you can filter websites, and also be fully aware of what you child sees, listens to and who they interact with online.