The Internet can be a very bad place. The terrible thing about realizing the Internet is a bad place is that you’ve already let your kid use it. Plus, in today’s world you have to use the Internet go get through life (in most cases). Teaching your child about Internet safety is the equivalent of teaching them to dial *911* in case of an emergency. It’s just that necessary. Let’s get started on some ways to keep your child safe.
If your child is of a certain age, you simply click them to the website and that’s all they are allowed to do. A child around five years of age, and a few years within that radius needs monitored, no doubts about that. As a parent, you have to make it a point to monitor your child, whether it’s convenient or not. As your child gets older, the monitoring has to make a little more sense. So many “children” have smart phones and access to computers, without any monitoring system in place. Children should know you are watching their every move; this helps them to be accountable and to make smart choices. Sit down with your child and explain to them what Internet monitoring is and how it protects THEM.
#2. Be open and honest
Hiding the truth from your child about the Internet is not wise. If they are smart enough and old enough to use it, then they need to know the truth about it. You can use an example of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. “There is the good side of the World Wide Web and the bad side.” You need to show your kids the way to decipher between good and bad. Being honest with them is sometimes the only way to get the point across. You may have mixed feelings about this approach, but it’s best they find out about the Internet trolls from you and not anyone else.
#3. Talk to your child about privacy
As you have noticed, the only real way to teach your child about Internet safety is to TALK to them. You can make it fun, but they need to know you are serious. Talking to a child about their privacy on the Internet is important. They need to know that we don’t give out our names, addresses, school information, or any other private info to someone we don’t know. This might take some work because it’s a big lesson to understand and grasp.
#4. Share a video
Sometimes kids are just a little more visual. That’s where sharing a video comes in and I have the perfect video to show you. This video is perfect for kids of all ages on the importance of Internet safety. It really hits the nail on the head with this topic. Check out this video here.
#5. Apply the stranger mentality
We teach our kids to stay away from strangers in real life and we need to teach them about this principle via the Internet. If someone is bothering them online, they need to get an adult involved. This is where open communication is important, yet again. Be consistent with teaching your kid(s) this principle. I would rather be overly involved, then not involved at all.
As you can see, there are many ways you can teach your child how to stay safe on the Internet. Don’t forget that your children are humans, and they are going to mess up from time to time. Use their mistake as a learning opportunity. Sadly, children have to be aware of their surroundings in real life and in the virtual realm as well. Having an involved parent will help keep both worlds as safe as possible.