It’s a scary and dangerous world out there, and it’s our responsibility to keep our little ones safe.
In this day and age, technology cannot be avoided… It has penetrated every sphere of our lives. Of course, the benefits of this have been countless: who can – or wants to – remember the time before Google Maps? Before Wikipedia and Facebook? Before we had all the knowledge of the world at our fingertips? Even in my 40s, I look back at the time before we had all this and think: How did we do it?
Yet, technology has also brought many dangers straight into our homes, including paedophiles in our living rooms and bullies in our bedrooms, and that is why you need to make sure that your children, innocent and naïve as they can be, are protected.
Always be present when your children are surfing the Internet or playing on a technological device. Be alert and pay attention to what they do and see, who they talk to, and what they talk about. Being there to guide them through the infinite maze that is the Internet is as important as teaching them how to cross a road.
Explain why something is wrong before you ban it. Don’t just get angry and take the device away. Explain why some games are aimed at more mature audiences; explain why online bullying is wrong (they could, after all, be the perpetrators); and explain why you need to be there to guide them.
Set Up An Internet Nanny that can help you keep an eye out even when you momentarily leave them alone. Children, particularly those hitting puberty, are prone to exploring and learning more about the world beyond their immediate surroundings… Indeed, assuming that your kids won’t look up porn or try out the latest YouTube fad is irresponsible.
Teach them boundaries in both real life and online. A good way to get them thinking is to get them to ask themselves the question: Would I do it in real life? That way, they can start protecting themselves by not giving away too much information, or sending photos they wouldn’t show others face-to-face.
Set limits. One of the biggest dangers of technology is that we become detached from each other and from what’s happening around us. We’re lucky in that we grew up in a world that allowed us to play outside, be present at parties, and share a meal with our families without constant buzzing… So, give them clear instructions on how long they can use their mobile phone or the Internet for, and stick to them.
And, as an aside and from experience, if you do go on a naughty website yourself, make sure you delete the browser’s history or browse in incognito mode. Kids are better at technology than you think, no matter their age.
Do you have any other tips for keeping children safe online?
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