The internet is such a big part of our daily lives that we forget the World Wide Web wasn’t even around 29 years ago. However, the internet has advanced rapidly since its creation and most kids born today virtually grow up using computers and smartphones!
In fact, an Australian study showed that 95% of children between the ages of eight and eleven had gone online “in the last four weeks.” Furthermore, a study conducted by Netmums showed that 29% of parents allow their children to go online unsupervised and without any restrictions. While these statistics may seem trivial initially, they are extremely significant.
The internet can be a dangerous place for children. As scary as it is to admit, pedophiles and kidnappers oftentimes get to children online. As parents, it’s our responsibility to correctly introduce our children to the online world. Here are four tips on how to do so safely:
Take security measures
Security is absolutely crucial when you first introduce your child to the internet.
Remember that, while you know of the dangers that could lurk behind a screen, they don’t. You’ll need to explain when you first give them internet privileges that you’ll be monitoring their internet usage for a while just to make sure that they stay safe.
A major security measure is only introducing your child to the internet when they are at a conscious age. For example, a three-year-old won’t be able to consciously use the internet in the same way a 10-year-old could.
When you begin to allow internet usage, it is better first to introduce them to educational games and safe sites. There are plenty of kid-friendly websites that they’ll love!
It’s also important to limit the time they’re allowed to spend on the internet. When children spend too much time online, it’s easy for them to become consumed by the online world; it can even lead to them accidentally coming across inappropriate sites.
This brings us to our last, but arguably most important, security measure: enable an ad blocker. Ads these days can be both incredibly inappropriate and even scarring for young kids.
It’s important to be honest with your children regarding the internet.
Obviously, this conversation would be different between a five-year-old and a pre-teen, but it needs to be done either way. Not only kids can be easily tricked online, but they can also become victims of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying has become an increasingly large problem over the last few years- especially when it comes to kids and young adults. Cyberbullying can take many forms, but it typically occurs on social media platforms. Let your kids know that the internet can be a fun and educational place, but that sometimes people can be mean or “bad.” Tell them a few warning signs to look out for and behavior that they should avoid, such as speaking to people they don’t know.
The more they can understand about the complexities of the internet, the more careful they will be online.
Enable parental controls
Parental Control is so important!
This security feature on your computer can allow you to block certain websites from being accessed. It can also monitor the way your child uses the internet, such as what sites they visit and the time they logged on.
While this feature may seem intrusive to your children at first- depending on their age- inform them that it’s set up on the computer and that it only exists for their safety. This way, you can introduce your child to certain aspects of the internet without exposing them to some of the unsafe websites.
Use phone lookup services to monitor your child’s internet usage
As mentioned earlier, the best way to safely and properly introduce your child to the internet is to monitor their usage. You can do this easily with reverse lookup services by simply performing a number lookup.
A number lookup can show you the locations, email addresses, and social media accounts belonging to the person who uses that specific phone number.
If you want to be discreet, this is a great way to keep tabs on your children’s internet activities without being too intrusive.
While it’s important to be cautious when first introducing children to the internet, it’s also important to teach them that the internet isn’t a “bad” thing.
The internet can do incredible things. It can help people stay in contact easily over long distances, allow students to attend online classes, help people network in their industries, and so much more.
However, it can be a dangerous place for children, which is why they need to abide by your rules and be safe when online.