Just like the real world, the internet has some unsafe places. However, it is even easier to come upon this unsafe place by accident. On the web, there are no clear lines between what is okay and what isn’t. You have to rely on tools and communication so your child can surf the net in a safe manner. Here are eight tips for keeping your child safe online.  

Awareness

Pay attention to what your child sees and does on the internet. Not everything has to be physical to influence your child so you cannot afford to neglect the virtual realm. There are certain risks you take while being online, and children are more susceptible to these risks.  

The first thing that you should do as a parent acknowledges that the internet is not a very safe space for your child and that there are certain dangers that lurk in the shadowy corners. You have to be on alert and vigilant when it comes to child safety online.

Unfortunately, there are people who will try to exploit the innocence of your child, so be wary. The dark side of the internet is a pathway to many things some consider to be unnatural. Cybercrime, cyber bullying, and damaging online reputation are just some of these.

Research

You must get involved with your child’s cyber world. There’s just no way around it. Ignoring the problem or acting indifferent to it will not make the problem go away. In fact, things will only get worse. If you are knowledgeable of what your child sees, you can identify a conflict quicker. You can then step in quickly before the situation escalates.

Some websites may look child-friendly, using attractive colours and designs to lure kids in. Upon closer examination, you may find that the site is actually dangerous.  

Keep the computer in a location where it is easy to see. If it is hidden, you will not be able to monitor them easily or worse, they could be tempted to visit bad websites because of the secrecy. We do not want to scare you to the point where you outright ban the internet. We are just telling you to be aware of what is on the world wide web.

Create Rules

There should be set rules in your household regarding internet viewing. They don’t have to be a rigid schedule, but you should have limits, for example, one hour every weekday and two hours on weekends. You can even have a list of sites that they are allowed / not allowed to visit, to clear up any confusion.

Many children spend far too much time on their computer, which is not healthy. There is a whole world for your child to explore. Encourage them to go outside rather than stay cooped up inside with the computer. Enforcing these rules will go a long way in preventing internet addiction.

Educate Them

This isn’t just about you controlling what they see. They have to understand why you are doing this.

Teach them important online lessons, as given below:

  • Never reveal your name, address, school, picture, or phone number online.
  • Avoid opening email, attachments or messages from anyone you don’t know.
  • Do not respond to any inappropriate messages directed at you.
  • Never get together with adults you met online.

You can also add any other lessons as you see fit. Tell them that it is for their own safety, not because you want to spy on them or police them. Once they understand and accept that, they will be more open.

Also, tell them to logout of the computer and shut it down once they finish their internet session.  

Beware of Social Media

Social networking websites such as Facebook have content only suitable for those 13 and older. However, some children will lie about their age and register to create an account anyway. This could lead to harmful consequences. The anonymity of the internet provides a platform for people to threaten, intimidate, and harass without having their true identity outed.  

On websites such as Reddit and Tumblr, people create their own persona and are free to  They could be exposed to indecent images or comments. The internet is such a place where your child might stumble upon violence, hate speech, and other vulgar material unknowingly. Such forums should be closely monitored or avoided.

Block Harmful Sites

Parental controls offer you the ability to block websites. There are ways to block a website. That is not too difficult. If you feel a site is unsafe for your child and you don’t want them to view it, you can blacklist it on your computer.

There are plugins and software apps that you can download when it comes to blocking or restricting websites. Any website that explicitly states that the material contained is for 18+  should be blocked.   

Turning on ‘Safe Search’ in Google filters out offensive and inappropriate material. It’s not just the computer, but the tablets, and the mobile phones too. The internet never forgets, and once you post something online, even if you delete it, its presence will linger.

Protect Your Privacy

Privacy is of utmost concern. Your child may reveal identifying information about themselves without even realising it. This is obviously not their intention, but you should be extra careful about this.  

Your email is especially important as someone with access to your email can just click ‘forgot my password’ to gain access to your other accounts.

No matter how hard you try, some inappropriate things might still pop up. As such, tell them to come to you whenever they see something uncomfortable. You can then take appropriate action. Assure them that it is not their fault if they viewed something by accident so they won’t fear to get into trouble.

There is a staggering amount of information on the web, some great and some horrible. Even us adults need to be careful and mindful of what we put out there for public viewing with suspicious characters lurking about.

The bottom line is that who kids are on the internet is not who they are in the real world. However, you want them to be careful.

The Internet for Learning

The internet can be a great tool as long as you use it correctly. It doesn’t just have to be for fun and games.  Your child can use the information for help with homework and tests, or if they are curious about something. There are many educational sites as well that can help your child learn. One such website is Let’s Practise.

With Let’s Practise, you can get sample papers, worksheets, and tests for children from 3rd to 9th standard. You can find informational material for children studying in CBSE, ICSE, and SSC Boards.

To take advantage of all these educational information and more, write to us, call us, or let us reach you. Whatever you do, contact us now. We are the safest place on the internet!

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