The Internet often seems like a place of endless wonders. Clicking the mouse can take a child to both fabulous and unexplored places and places full of danger.
Adult content, prohibited or highly objectionable content, fraud, virtual intimidation, and blackmail – mainly affects children between the ages of 8 and 14. So what should you do?
Age of access
Today, in most social networks, registration is possible only from the age of 14, but already from the first grade of school, it is considered unfashionable not to be on Facebook. It turns out that the decision on access to the network for children and adolescents 8-13 years old is determined not by the law but by the parents – it depends on them whether their child will have access to the network before the age of 14.
It is the parents who give the child a special right and at the same time are responsible for safety and development. They can restrict this right at will.
It is important to note that up to 10 years of age, the child should be completely protected from the network. In the first school years, the child is just beginning an active learning process about the world and forming a personality. At the same time, the mechanisms of critical thinking have not yet been formed; the child is too gullible – the Internet at this age can seriously disrupt the formation of the personality.
Discussion of internet security
Internet security issues are discussed in computer science lessons in middle and high school. But to an elementary school student on a short leg with a computer or phone, you can only tell how ingenious and cunning Internet scammers are.
Once the child has received a digital device with access to the global network – a smartphone, computer, game console, or anything else – it’s time to teach him about network security. And remember that there are no forbidden topics or uncomfortable questions here and cannot be! If you don’t explain, a stranger will explain!
- Tell your children in detail about all the potential threats they may face on the Internet.
- If possible, place the computer in the standard room.
- Try to spend more time at the computer with your child – explaining and showing.
- Explain to the children that not everything they see or read on the
- Internet is necessarily actual.
Software and parental controls
Install a high-quality antivirus program with the Parental Control function on your computer and all mobile devices. This is one of the essential components of protecting against online threats. Control will allow you to:
- Block websites with prohibited content.
- Limit and control the time a child spends on the Internet.
- Set restrictions on the installation and launch of new programs.
- Control the child’s correspondence on social networks and chats.
Thousands of new viruses appear on the Internet every day – do not forget to follow the security updates of your operating system and applications.
Set the time for using the Internet
- Admission to the network is possible unless it interferes with studies and subject to family responsibilities and adherence to the daily routine.
- Set up a schedule for using the Internet. For example, after school, a child should do homework, take a walk on the street, feed or walk pets, and only use gadgets.
- Limit the time: for younger students – no more than one hour online a day; for middle school students – no more than one and a half hours.
Discuss bans and permissions
Explain in detail to the children what they are allowed and what is forbidden to do on the Internet:
- Listen to music, watch movies and videos, play online games
- Register on social networks and other sites
- Use instant messaging programs
- Download music, games, movies, and other content without your permission
- Make purchases on the Internet
Ask your child regularly about what he saw and what he did on the Internet. Do not forget to check the relevance of the already established rules. Make sure your rules are appropriate for both the age and development of your child.
Rules of conduct in social networks
If a child is allowed access to social networks, he needs to be warned about the need to follow the culture and communication rules. Often, children and adolescents, lacking experience and knowledge of how to manage their aggression and resentment, express their feelings in comments and discussions, set the interlocutors against each other, and create a generally hostile atmosphere.
Parents should convey to the child that he should not make dubious acquaintances on the network because a dangerous person can be hiding behind a cute and attractive avatar.
Agree with your child that, without your knowledge, he will never answer letters from strangers, publish or communicate such important information in correspondence as: home address, phone numbers, bank card details, passport details of parents, etc.
Make friends with your kids on social media
Parent-child contact is a critical factor in the behavior of a teenager in virtual life.
Sign up on a social network and connect with your child. Spend more time chatting with him online. Become your child’s best friend – not only in everyday life but also online. This is the only way you can see or find out what your child is interested in and what he is doing on the Internet.
In its most extreme manifestations, a child’s interest in the Internet turns into Internet addiction. This is a waste of all available internet time. These are bad grades and abandoned homework, isolation, refusal to “live” communication, myopia, back problems, and headaches.
In this case, experts advise only parental love and attention, control, and alternative leisure activities. It would help if you learned to find a balance between study, play, and outdoor activities. Time for online games is up – that’s it, it’s time for a walk! And not to sit around – ride a bike, roller skate, play football, hockey, go hiking, fishing, cook food on the fire. What kind of child can resist such an alternative?
Be ready to learn
Parents should not only navigate social media but also know which sites and how their children spend their time and improve their level of awareness.
The Internet does not stand still and is constantly evolving. Get ready to learn, too. You will almost certainly not know a lot of what your child will learn and learn quickly on the Internet. But if you want to keep your finger on the pulse, you have to keep up with it.
Only the correct organization of a child’s Internet visits, his preparedness, and constant parental involvement and control can protect children from the negative influence of information and intruders. Excellent and safe Internet for you and your children.