The internet has brought a vast amount of information into each and every home with ease of access. This is, of course, an incredible thing. As a tool, the internet has huge possibilities in education and in entertainment which, as many parents know, brings mixed blessings.
Most children today have some access to the internet. Even those who do not have access at home, will most definitely have it at school. Whether via a phone, tablet, PC or laptop, your child probably spends a fair amount of time browsing various websites, apps and games. Social media is a huge part of our children’s lives. Apps which offer children the capability to share video, images and messages are hugely popular and continue to grow and develop in new and exciting ways.
Along with these apps and websites comes some danger. Not only via predators but also via phishing and other scams. Your child is never too young to learn the rules of internet safety. Once your child is old enough to use a device to access the internet, it’s best to keep them insight. Do not allow your child to sit alone with internet access. They should be helped to learn how to use the internet but with rules in place. A prep school in Surrey explores in further detail below.
Here are some good basic rules of thumb to help keep your child safe:
- Parental controls – use them. They’re a great way to filter out anything inappropriate
- Reputation – speak to your child about their online reputation. Explain that anything they say to others online can be seen and that words should be kind. Help them to understand what online bullying is and why it’s a bad thing.
- Search history – keep an eye on it. Don’t just trust that your child is searching safe things, they may not always understand some of the words they look up and it can lead them to dangerous sites.
- Online friends – familiarise yourself with who your child is speaking to online. It should only be people they know.
- Location – show your child how to keep their location private. This is especially important for mobile users.
- Watch the clock – don’t allow your child to spend too long online. Not only is it bad for the eyes but can also affect sleep patterns.
- Fake news – teach your child how to understand that not everything they read online is true.
Ultimately, the internet is a wonderful thing. It helps children to learn and to create but it should always be used carefully. Keeping your child on your side by enjoying the internet together is a good way to ensure that communication channels stay open.
A great way to do this is to watch shows or listen to podcasts together. Find content that you’re both interested in – enjoy the internet together and your child will feel more able to discuss their worries and thoughts with you should they ever come across a situation which makes them uncomfortable.