The importance of teaching your children about online safety

The importance of teaching your children about online safety

Technology is an integral part of life nowadays, and most people have an online presence through the use of social media apps and internet browsers. This includes children. The subject of children using the internet remains somewhat controversial, as many believe the online environment isn’t beneficial for children due to the possibility of interacting with inappropriate material, cyberbullying, or talking to strangers.

However, the internet is also a vital educational resource for many children. It can be used to conduct research for school reports and projects and learn new things. It’s a place where interactive games can be played, online books can be read, and numerous videos can be watched, including cartoons and documentaries. Therefore, it seems like the most reasonable solution is to allow children to be online once they’re old enough. However, you should also be prepared to explain that the internet comes with certain risks, what they are, and what they can do if they encounter any of them.

Remain calm

No parent enjoys difficult conversations with their children, but they’re an essential part of maturity and development. It’s important to remain calm throughout the conversation and explain everything slowly and clearly. Make sure that your kids understand that this is a conversation, not a lecture and that they’re free to ask questions. Leave the conversation open, as they might think of other questions they have for you in the upcoming days.

You must do your own research beforehand as well. If you’re unsure of how to proceed and which subjects to discuss, you can talk to a psychologist to better understand what you can expect. Ensure you’re not too forceful, and avoid using alarmist words, as they’re more likely to cause anxiety and might even cause some children to misinterpret positive things as negative and vice versa.

You can provide context to help exemplify what you’re saying. Your children should know why some of these are inappropriate for their age or even downright illegal. You should discuss a few possible situations openly and ask your kids what they believe is wrong in each case. Bring the necessary additions as you see fit.

Safety first

Encourage your children to trust their gut instinct. If they feel something is wrong or makes them feel uncomfortable, they should be taught how to exit that situation and keep themselves safe. Make sure you establish the importance of remaining anonymous online, and tell your children that they should never share any information with people they don’t know, no matter how friendly they may seem.

If private data was leaked in any other way, you could reach out to to discuss the amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive. Data that becomes lost often leads to stress and anxiety for the victim, which can cause psychological troubles. In some situations, financial damages can occur as well.

It’s essential that your children feel like they can talk to you about anything and there’s no subject you’re not willing to discuss. They must feel like they can come to you for anything they need. This brings us to our next point, which is:

Establish trust

Your children need to know that they can trust you no matter what it is. If they see or experience something unpleasant online, they must be confident they can talk to you about it. If they feel like you’d react negatively or blame them, most will be unwilling to come forward, which will inevitably do more harm than good. Ensure your children can always come to you and discuss anything they’ve found upsetting, no matter how small it may seem.

Make sure to keep your emotions under control as well as you can. When something causes you to become afraid or concerned, you’re more likely to react impulsively, which can scare off your child. How you talk and your tone are often just as important as what you say. Be careful with the way you deal with punishment. Many children associate coming forward to their parents about something they’ve seen online with having their devices removed from their possession, which they want to avoid.

Handle this carefully, and don’t rush if other options are available.

Teach the basics

After discussing everything, it’s crucial to take further considerations into account. Consider what are some of the aspects that could improve the time your child spends online and make it safer and more secure. For instance, you might want to install parental control features that filter content or restrict your child’s access to
inappropriate material.

Check to see the content they interact with, whether games, videos or apps, and decide if there’s anything potentially wrong with them. Ideally, all the applications your child uses should be the ones that allow them to use the “block” and “report” features. Being able to use these functions ensures higher safety online.

Ensure that all accounts your child has on social media are private so that strangers can’t contact them. It’s safer if the only people they interact with are those your family knows in real life. This way, if anything happens during an online conversation, you’ll have an easier time identifying the person and discussing the situation.

The chats and in-app purchases should also be turned off within apps, especially those that allow unknown users or those who don’t follow each other to communicate. Their profiles should avoid sharing any personal information. Lastly, remember that children learn a lot based on the examples they have around them. Make sure to follow the advice you’re giving and protect your own online safety as well.

To sum up, as the online space continues to expand and develop, new challenges will continue to come up. It’s essential to remain aware of them so you can protect your safety and your family. The internet is a fantastic place to learn many good and useful things. However, since it’s so large, many people can hide behind anonymity to do bad things.

While it doesn’t do any good to panic, it’s also important not to underestimate the possible dangers of the online world.