As parents and educators, we are well aware of the presence that modern technology has in our lives. From the way we learn, to the way we communicate, technology influences us (and our kids) on a daily basis.
With the undeniable benefits that are available to us on the internet, also comes issues that are troublesome, such as cyberbullying and online privacy concerns.
There are specific steps we can take to ensure our children are safe online. Here are a few simple ideas that are easy to implement and beneficial for all ages:
Set clear expectations – Talk with children about online dangers, and have clear guidelines regarding what is (and is not) acceptable online behavior. Ensuring kids understand not to give out personal information, click suspicious links, or download anything without permission, is vital to keeping them safe on the internet.
Maintain access – Being able to access your child’s email and social media accounts is a good idea for safety reasons. Whether you intend to actually check, or not, it’s nice to have the option, and for kids to have some accountability.
Spend time together online – Watching videos, reading articles, playing games, and browsing together online is a great way to see what your kids are interested in, and allows adults to demonstrate appropriate online behavior.
Be approachable – It’s important for children to know they can tell the adults in their lives whatever is on their mind. If someone says or does something inappropriate online, we want to hear about it. If kids stumble upon questionable information or images online, we want them to feel comfortable telling us. Reminding ourselves not to overreact, and praising children for their honesty, is necessary for keeping the communication flowing.
Stay aware – If children start acting secretive or withdrawn regarding their online activity, that is a sure sign something isn’t right. Be aware of how kids are behaving before, during, and after spending time on the internet.
By following these straightforward tips, we can all help to ensure our children are safe online. Using the internet is a privilege, and an important life skill in our tech-driven society. It’s our job as parents and educators to give kids the tools and knowledge they need to thrive, both online and off.
Do you have tips for keeping kids safe online? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.