The following contribution is from another author.
The Internet has become a significant part of our everyday lives, and it’s almost impossible for the younger generation to imagine living without it. Children not only rely on the Internet to play games and watch YouTube, but they use it for their education and for keeping in touch with friends. While parents often want to limit the amount of time their children spend online, it is important to realize that these days, it is becoming almost a necessity.
If it is used for the right reasons, the Internet can have many benefits for children. However, as with most things in life, there are risks that parents must be aware of. There is the threat of malware and computer viruses, and children are vulnerable to cyberbullying and grooming, which can have devastating effects. Many parents are also worried about the physical impact that being exposed to electronic radiation from devices, although this can be monitored with an EMF Meter. Here, we have put together some tips to help to ensure children develop good Internet habits and stay safe online.
1) Discuss the risks and dangers.
If your children are old enough to use the Internet and work their way around a device, then they are old enough for a discussion about the dangers. There is no need to scare children or be too explicit in your discussion, but they should need to understand how they are at risk from cybercrime and online grooming. Talking openly about the Internet means all members of the family develop a healthy attitude to its use.
2) Set boundaries.
Setting some rules about the use of the Internet has benefits for the entire family. When they are younger, the boundaries could include restrictions on the use of any social media and communicating with friends. When they get older, you may want to give them a little more freedom, but it’s a good idea to restrict the amount of time they can spend online. Many families find that banning using devices while eating can encourage family interaction.
3) Install parental controls.
The Internet has expanded the world for children, but there are still plenty of things that are inappropriate for them to see. You can set up parental controls on broadband and mobile networks, on individual devices and search engines. They can be used to stop children from accessing age-inappropriate content, purchasing apps and changing passwords and privacy settings. One way is to download an ad blocker as there are instances where children’s apps or websites contain sensitive content.
4) Increase awareness of cyberbullying.
Social media and the Internet have changed the way children experience bullying, but it can be just as devastating. Cyberbullying can happen via email, text messages, online gaming and on social networks. It can take many forms, such as harassment, threats and intimidation and publicly posting personal information. Having open discussions with children about cyberbullying, and encouraging them to talk to you if they become a victim is essential.
As we mentioned above, if used correctly, the Internet can be a fabulous resource for anyone of any age. Sit down together, explore it and understand it together as a family.