In today’s society it is very difficult to keep kids off the internet. Online activity has swiftly become a part of everyday life. We are all aware of the dangers that are out there, but thankfully there are also many options which allow us to monitor our children’s actions online. To do this, you don’t need to be totally tech savvy. Just a little research and forward thinking will really help you out.
– Begin by laying down the ground rules. Make sure they know about the risks and help them to understand the importance of not talking to strangers, not giving out personal data, to be aware of what they post on social networking sites and to always talk to you if something concerns or worries them. Stick with these rules and ensure your child knows not to push their boundaries.
– Have them show you what websites they use. For the modern day child the internet is often a part of their education and social life. It can be a wonderful resource for learning. You want to be able to give them their freedom online, but to do this they must be able to show you that they will be responsible.
– Take control of their access to the internet. Keep the computer in one of the houses main rooms and limit their usage. Keep in mind that mobile phones can access the internet too, so if your child has one of these, you will need to be responsible with what plan they are on and research what the network provider can do to help.
– Most software includes parental controls, so be sure to utilise these. Unsuitable websites can be blocked and you are also able to monitor and limit searches. There are plenty of child friendly search engines out there.
– Xbox also offers parental controls, which are necessary if you want to prevent your children from playing unsuitable games or accidentally running up a fortune on your credit card.
– Limit their downloads and teach them the importance of only downloading from safe sources. It’s very easy to accidentally download a virus or spyware, and this can often be costly and time consuming to deal with.
– Be aware of changes in their behaviour, such as if they suddenly become argumentative or withdrawn. Online bullying is rife, so keep an eye on their social networking profiles if you allow them to use these sites. Also be aware of how much time they are spending online, if they switch the screen off whenever you enter the room and look out for anything you think may be unsuitable.
It’s important that we allow our children to grow and adapt as our technological advances are developed. If you utilise the above tips, your child will still be able to enjoy the benefits of the internet and you will feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are doing this within a safe and controlled environment.
Article Written by School Mum Wendy Sheenan