Parenting in a digital age is as hard as it can be. Your kids have the advantage of being connected to all the information in the world, and it can be amazing and horrible at the same time.
It is hard to keep raising confident children with high self-esteem when the internet is full of bullies and unreachable beauty standards. So, for your kids’ online safety, we’ve gathered the best safety tips that will help you to protect your children from the bad side of the internet.
Protecting Your Kids on the Internet
It is your responsibility to keep your child safe, and we will help you to learn how to do that. Let’s go!
Online safety for toddlers
We live in an age when kids are exposed to the internet from day one of their lives. Smart boundaries provided to the youngest children will help them avoid internet bullying and unhealthy, dangerous encounters as much as they can in the future.
First of all, you can teach your toddlers to value traditional toys, books, and playgrounds over the “internet nanny” if you lead by example. Limit your own time on the web and create strict rules for EVERY member of the family to follow: do not use your phone during dinners or family activities, do not use your phone one hour before sleep, etc.
Don’t cut off access to phones and tablets for your kids entirely because it can lead to sneaking and lying only to have some time online. Just limit your toddler’s time online to one or two hours a day and try to use fun learning apps during this time. Our goal is to create a habit of using a phone or tablet to learn something and avoid meaningless scrolling.
Online safety for preteens
This is the time when parental control should become a little bit stricter because it is the age when kids start using social media, and, unfortunately, social media for kids can be dangerous.
Your child can be simply unaware of some dangers of online life and get into the trap without realizing it. In this case, you can start using parental control apps to help your kid avoid inappropriate stuff.
But the most important thing is to keep teaching your kid that the internet should be not just for fun but also for learning. Keep limiting their screen time, but do not make using a phone about privilege: everybody needs it, so it is more a necessity than a privilege nowadays.
And lastly, try to include yourself in their browsing as much as you can: and we are not talking about stalking. We mean that you can do various fun activities online and offline with your kids to encourage them to tell you every time they are exposed to the bad stuff for you to be able to explain to your kids how to deal with that.
Online safety for teens
With teens talking about internet safety can be very tricky. These kids need independence and will not be ashamed to demand it from you, even if it is dangerous for them.
Now it’s the time when you need to trust your kid and show it to them. Do not spy on them and give them privacy with their social media accounts. At the same time, keep being open to a conversation and show your kids that you are interested in their lives, care about them, and want to be friends, not a warden.
Also, have a couple of uncomfortable talks about sending nudes, talking to strangers online, and what information can be used against them by indecent people. Your kids deserve to learn it from you and not in a hard way.
Teach your kids to use proper online tools
Many kids use countless apps, and most of them are innocent and just for fun. However, one of the most important aspects of teaching your kids internet safety is explaining that some apps can be dangerous.
Please encourage them to use safety settings even in trusted apps to limit the amount of personal information that can be potentially leaked. If your kid needs a tool for school, like the one to record the screen during online classes, teach the kid only to get programs from official websites.
It is especially important now when kids have to learn remotely and need such apps to save the records of classes and revisit them when required. Kids need more than we need to keep up with their curriculum in this stressful environment, so recording online classes is a great idea.
Explain to your child that if an app asks for some inappropriate info, it is better to delete it immediately or ask for your advice. These basic rules will teach your kid how to determine which software is safe and good to use and what can be dangerous.
Value your kid’s privacy
Of course, we all love sharing our lives with others on Instagram. But, please, do remember that what goes online once it is online forever. So, it can be a great idea to post only your fair share of daily content with kids not included in the pictures.
You can share your child’s personal information even without the intention to do it and create problems for your kid in the future. Help them avoid bullying in the future and keep those precious childhood photos to yourself and your trusted circle.
Your kids’ online safety is the number one priority, and if you do it right, you can prevent many unfortunate or even tragic things from happening with your child.
However, you are not a god, and you can’t be with your baby 24/7, so the most important thing you can do to protect your kid on the internet is to explain to them, teach them with your example and trust them. Creating a strong and trusting relationship with your kid is the best shield you can make to protect them from trouble online.