Written by Chrissy Sykes
Children spend an astonishing amount of time on the Internet.
For example, a recent study in the USA states that 8 – 12-year-olds spend around 6 hours a day and teenagers a staggering 9 hours a day on the internet. It is because of these types of statistics we need to ensure that our children are kept safe.
Here are a few simple ideas that will help you ensure your child’s safety:
1. Please take the time to review your computer and broadband safety settings. Internet Matters is a great site where you can check how to set parental controls for most devices. It only takes a few minutes but can make a world of difference.
Doing this only ensures a safe passage onto the internet. Each App that your child uses needs to have the parental setting enabled as well. These will not only protect your child, but they can also protect you from in-app purchases your child may make without their or your knowledge. Parental Control Software can be purchased to help you monitor and control activities on your child’s phone or tablet.
If your child is playing internet games or watching films, look at the PEGI rating to check the minimum age group for which it is suitable. The age categories are 3, 7, 12, 16, 18, and ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’.
It is also a good idea to disable “Location” on the apps. Many of the social network Apps allow you to post your location when you add an update. If your child is out with friends on their own, this will give strangers on the internet access to your child’s whereabouts.
If young children need to create an account on the internet, help them set it up and show them fun ways of creating safe passwords. For example, they could use someone like their favorite superhero combined with their favorite drink or sweets. Something nobody else would know. It would also be wise to note their passwords so you can keep an eye on their internet activities.
As your child matures, it would be a good idea to show them how to protect themselves on their apps. Many children have a better knowledge about their phones and tablets than their parents do, so spending time explaining good and safe practices is worthwhile.
2. Encourage your child to use their devices in common areas of the house where you can keep an eye on them. Explain to your child that bedtime is for sleeping, and it is not a good idea to let them take their phone or tablet to bed. Children are naturally inquisitive, and if we do not restrict or monitor their internet usage, they may stumble onto some unsuitable material or be contacted by unsuitable or unsafe people.
3. We need to remind children that people may not be who they say they are on the internet. They may lie about their age, their name, and even what gender they are. Would you please explain to your child that it is important never to give you: Your full name – Your address – Your phone number – Your School – Your Passwords – And never ever meet up with a stranger.
By giving personal details, it may give people the ability to contact you in real life.
4. Do fun things together with your child on the internet. That way, you can browse different sites, and by doing this, you will find that it is a great way to learn more about your child’s interests and educate them about unsafe websites.
5. Talk to your children openly about the dangers and advantages of the internet. Let them know that they can always come to you if they have any questions or if they find any upsetting content. Due to the amount of bullying currently going on, it would be a good idea to show your child how to block and unfriend or unfollow people who are harassing or bullying them.
Taking the time to review these few things can make a world of difference. Unfortunately, online bullying is on the increase, so we must make every effort to protect our children against abuse, harassment, and cyberbullying.
Content credits to Chrissy Sykes
Chrissy is the Founder of the My Body is My Body Programme. This is a Free International Life skills, Body Safety Programme for children using animated music videos to educate both parents and children. The program consists of 6 songs that teach different objectives.
The songs include My Body Is My Body: If It Don’t Feel Right Don’t Do It: The “What If” Game: If You’ve Got A Problem: Love Is Gentle and Say No To Secrets.
There are 2 free Courses, Tutorials, Lesson Plans, Children’s Workbooks, A Quiz, Posters, and much more to access.
The MBIMB Programme is currently being used in over 40 Countries and has reached over 2 million children. It has been translated into 19 languages and the songs are sung in 10 languages.