After the world has undergone intense digitalization, most of our lives have moved online. From entertainment, leisure time, to businesses and education- everything is accommodated to the Internet environment. For adults, it’s automated. Most of us weren’t even children when the Internet spread. The real challenge comes in when we have to introduce it to our kids.
How to keep them safe? What is the right time to get them their own devices? How to make them access the quality content only? Some say that there should be an age restriction on social media, while others believe parents should be in charge of their child’s online presence. Questions are numerous, but solutions limited, and rather individual. So, we gathered some of the advice that can guide you through these rough times.
Schools, governments, officials- education on Internet use is shared duty. However, the strongest role models for children are their parents. They rely on you for guidance and support. But the question is how. Here are a few ideas:
Talking through these topics cannot be stressed enough. They should be introduced to the problems of sexual harassment, the existence of inappropriate websites, scams, and computer viruses. Most of them would be too young to realize, so pointing out on these issues is crucial. Moreover, just prohibiting something, or blocking the sites, would not be a long-term solution. They are curious, and they need explanations. Demonstrate why their profile should be private. Why they should ignore messages from strangers. Why certain content is inappropriate or dangerous. Although most of them would take their parents’ advice seriously, stubbornness is a characteristic of growing up. In that case, there are many documentaries you can watch with your child. Learning by example is effective, but have in mind these materials can also be a bit stressful. Lastly, establish trust. Let them know they can count on you.
Every child is different, so are the upbringing methods. Limiting the time on devices, or time online, monitoring the content, letting them learn on their own- regardless of the approach you represent, some system should be set when it comes to the interactions of the youngest with the Internet. Curate the rules that work for both parents and the child. It is easier to navigate them, and consequently, for them to form a healthier attitude towards online time.
When at children's reach, devices should be protected both physically and ''internally''.
Passwords - Cybersecurity is an issue, so we should look after the key to all our data. As we need passwords for everything, we can overlook its importance. Follow the strength guidelines. Codes, as a mix of the letters and numbers in the random order, are recommended over the standard passwords. In the offline world, the same key doesn't open multiple doors, so it shouldn't online. Crate different password for each of the accounts, and never save them for the automatic login, especially when you share devices with children.
Locking - Set up multiple identification system for your accounts. Remember to use passwords for your devices as well, and to turn them off whenever unused.
Anti-malware - Installing the anti-malware software is a must-do. Children can agree to different terms and services, accidentally download content. They are more vulnerable as they don't understand the notifications or are too busy to concern them. Firewalls are a great tool for filtering damaging sites.
Last but not least, consider purchasing some protective services. They can take various forms. If you would like to be carefree when your kids are online, take the services that prohibit them from accessing inappropriate or harmful pages. Find something suitable for your needs.
We need to approach our online behavior as equally important to its other forms. These small changes you can adopt in your day-to-day life to assure your kids’ security, help them form the right mindset for the online world, so you never have to worry about it again.