Young Girl Playing With Pink Mobile Phone

5 Ways To Keep Your Child Safe Online

The fast development of various online services has affected the lives of all generations. While grown-ups are aware of the pros and cons the Internet brings, children and young teenagers don’t possess that level of experience.

Since children can also use the Web in many beneficiary ways, it’s important to teach them how to do that with as few risks as possible. Tech-savvy parents will know how to control their children online habits. However, some parents aren’t involved that much in modern technologies and they need help and assistance. If you identify yourself as such a parent, stay with us and read the following tips for keeping your child safe in the online environment.

5 Ways To Keep Your Child Safe Online

1)    Social Media And Age Restriction

You need to be at least 13 if you want to use Facebook and most other mainstream social media. Still, many young children ignore the restrictions of these networks. Unaware of the negative side that social media can play in their lives, children simply go with the flow. They copy their peers, as well as their parents and develop a strong wish to fit into their social surroundings.

Logically, children will try to dodge the rules and do what seems interesting. This is where parents need to take a firm attitude, but they should also sugarcoat it, so that kids conclude on them own that they actually don’t need social media.

The most efficient strategy here is the one of role model. Simply put, if parents restrict the time they spend online, their kids are most likely to follow suit – at least younger children. Teenagers, on the other hand, most probably won’t care too much about their parents’ social media engagement.

2)    Offline Habits In Online Surroundings

If there’s one common things for most parents out there is the warning that they give to their children that they should never talk to strangers. This simple and effective offline tip can perfectly work in online surroundings, as well.

Therefore, when you’re talking to your kid about their behavior outside your home, you should tell them that they should follow the same rules when they’re using their computer. When they’re online, they leave your home, in a way, which is why they should be extremely careful in that environment.

So, when we’re talking about specific age groups, kids aged 6-12 should know that they should never reply to a message they receive on the Web from a stranger. Also, they should be instructed to inform you at once. After that, you’ll decide whether to block that website and call the police.

Further, kids aged 13 and above, who can legally use social media, should report every inappropriate message to you and then you should report the sender to that social network.

Kids Playing On Tablets

3)    The Benefits Of Smartphones

An interesting survey conducted by Nielsen in February 2017 showed that 45% of US children aged 10-12 had their own smartphone. For the sake of comparison, in South Korea about 72% of 11- and 12-year-olds owned a mobile at the time of that research.

As we can see, the predominant trend in these two technologically advanced countries is to allow pre-teenagers to have a smartphone. Truth be told, children need to live in accordance with the technology of their age. The children of the 1980s had Atari, the kids of the 1990s had Nintendo and today they have smartphones.

However, parents should impose some simple rules related to the use of the smartphone.

For starters, there needs to be a time limit. For instance, an article published by USA Today suggests that you should allow children under the age of 10 to use your smartphone between 30 and 60 minutes a day. The emphasis is on your smartphone. Only when your child is mentally mature enough should you let them have their own smartphone. While it’s a matter of individual preferences, the threshold of their teen age could be the right moment for that move.

Also, a young child using a mobile should spend most of that time on educational and mind-inspiring content. As opposed to that, only a smaller portion of time should be used for pure fun. For instance, they can play an entertaining game after they’ve finished with some clever online activities. This balance will teach them both how to plan their time and how to use tech devices in a constructive way.

4)    Filtering Content On Your Computer

Sooner or later your kid will express a wish to use your computer. This is a legitimate request and they should be allowed to use it, but only under your supervision.

First of all, you should keep your computer in the living room, where everybody can access it. Your kid will be under greater risk of online threats if you buy them a computer of their own and put it in their room. That step should be taken when they become older teenagers.

Now that you’ve placed your computer in the living room, it’s time to activate the parental controls on your browsers. Here you can read how to set the parental controls in Google Chrome.

As opposed to that, you can opt for Internet browsers for kids, which will provide you with the highest possible degree of online safety. The only drawback of these solutions is that more advanced options most often have to be paid.

What’s also important is that other people who look after your kids should be familiar with these safety hacks. So, if a child spends time with their grandparents, they should also learn a bit about these filters. The same goes for live-in nannies and au-pairs. As a matter of fact, one of the main conditions for the latter to chosen to take care of your kids should be their knowledge of modern technologies.

On the other hand, if your parents are older and they’re not interested in modern technologies, your kid can do other things with them.

Girl Typing On Laptop

5)    Slow Introduction To Technologies

Children are perfect copycats. In other words, they look up to what we do and imitate that. That’s why you should do your best to use modern technologies in a smart and educational way. If your kid sees that you have a life outside your smartphone and your computer, they’ll be more likely to copy that lifestyle.

Apart from setting your own online habits as a role model for your kid, you should also apply positive parenting when it comes to the online environment. If you present the Internet as something dangerous or forbidden, your kids will be eager to see why you’re saying that.

Kids are extremely curious and this is exactly what can put them in danger when they’re online. Your role is to streamline that curiosity towards imaginative, engaging and creating content, while taking all the precautions to prevent your kids to be exposed to any inappropriate content. By introducing them slowly to the technologies that will be inevitable in their lives, you’ll teach them how to make those high-tech features work for them while ignoring the negative sides of the Web.

The Internet and modern technologies will play a major role in the lives of present-day children. As their tutors and instructors, our role is to ensure safe conditions for their baby steps in the world of online technologies. By setting an example how to use the Web for education and occasional entertainment, we’ll give them a proper introduction into modern technologies. If they learn how to safely use the Internet from young age, our kids will get ready for the tech-governed world and make it work for them.


About The Author

Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education, and children’s welfare, as well as visiting sports events.


 


Also published on Medium.

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16 comments

  1. Very informative I have learnt a thing or two I’m glad as a parent I have implemented these rules for my teen and I take away his tablet on school days if he needs to research he can use the family computer he gets his tablet on weekends and holidays I do monitor it and have advised him about safety as he plays online games. As much as technology helps it can also destroy

  2. Thank you for this helpfull article. My son is only turning 4 and enjoy the kiddies you tube videos, but sometimes unappropriate adverts pop up. I received the tip to download the KIDDIES You Tube. Wow really a very nice and kiddie friendly app to install for your little one.

  3. Thank you so much for such a wonderful article, now days kids are to advance for their own good.
    My son is 4 and can go into any app on my phone including you tube and he just goes from one place to the next.
    Some of these videos definitely are not even age appropriate.
    Definitely learnt a new idea to try from this article.

  4. This was an interesting read. Having a pre-teen in the house, these tips will most definitely be applied. Thank you for keeping us in the loop.

  5. Queit insightful information. My kids are still small but this will come in handy when they get to that age. Thank you for sharing.

  6. A very interesting and pertinent read; my husband and I gave our eldest a phone for Christmas 2017, and we’ve implemented a lot of what you’ve suggested. She only has access to Kids YouTube, and we have the password for her Google Play Store. She still has to ask us to download games etc for her. And absolutely no social media until she is the right age, that I will stand firm on.

    • Having rules around smart device use is vital! As a parent I’d rather be safe than sorry. Our daughter is also not allowed to download any games and when she does get to watch Youtube and such, we pre-screen the content!
      Best to be vigilant and also check their phones / devices daily. Scary to see some of the freedom which friends in her age group have on their devices.

  7. Very informative. Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. My kids use my device in my presence and I’m happy with that (though they are not). My sister had a scary experience when someone we know sent pornography to my nephew when he was 17 years old. When she confronted the perpetrator he was not even repentant about it. She took the appropriate steps to keep her son safe. Being vigilant is very important and it could save us a lot of heartache.

  9. Social media is a very scary thing. How much control do you really have over these apps, unless you are diligent in checking up on your kids when they surf the net. Even if you install those curbed apps there are always new things coming up. I speak to my kids everyday and try to make them aware of all the dangers. We’ve installed the BitDefender. This app limits their access to funny sites and also acts as an anti virus. With the downloading of games you can automatically pick up lots of viruses on your pc and it can cost quite a bit of money to fix your pc. I do alot of checking up on them and the computer faces the door so when you enter the room they cannot hide anything away from you.

  10. I also read an article about the effect of social media on children. Children are more stressed now because they are always comparing them to other and each others situations. Thats actually very concerning…

  11. This is such an important and relevant topic. My daughter is 12 now and very vulnerable to peer pressure. I have a very strong belief that we should not wrap our children in cotton wool and hide them away from the world to protect them from the world, but that our main jobs as parents are to teach them how to protect themselves.
    Of course, making the internet and social media your child’s nanny is an absolute no-no. We should spend time (face-to-face) with our children, teaching them how to use the internet responsibly. We simply cannot teach our children about something by keeping them away from it. Knowledge is power!

  12. Im afraid of the internet and technology when it comes to my kids….my 3 year old doesnt even get to use my tab and hardly watches tv…but these tips will definetly help me for when my daughter becomes a teen…I feel these tips are absolutely neccessary to avoid many things that your kids could be exposed to online…thanks for the article

  13. Our little one is 4 years old and she knows how to use WhatsApp, take photos and play on YouTube.

    But she sends message to her Dad on Whatsapp when he is out of the country or call him on Whatsapp. We only limited the phone numbers on the phone she is allowed to use.

    She enjoys watching videos about kids and cooking. And will tell us if she sees something bad. She also enjoys watching Peppa Pig shows.

    We did try to keep her away from technology but that did not last. Now she plays mind games like puzzles and memory games. Love the cooking games.

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