Modeling Online Safety for Kids: 4 Tips to Implement
Online safety is an important concept for both adults and children. However, because children have less-developed brains and are generally more vulnerable, online safety for children is often a more hot-button topic. If you have children, chances are they’re going to be spending more time online once the school season starts; both distance learning and in-person learning often create more time online. If you’re trying to keep your kids safe online during back-to-school season, here are four tips to do that.
1. Talk to Your Kids About Everything
Having a culture of open communication makes it easier for your children to lean on you if they’re concerned about something they’ve seen or heard online. It’s best to make sure that your kids know they can talk to you about whatever they need, and to follow through on being understanding when they do come to talk to you. Just saying “You can talk to me about anything” doesn’t mean anything to a child; it’s how you react when they tell you something that does.
2. Make Sure Your Children Know About Online Safety
Children don’t just automatically understand online safety. As a matter of fact, most children will automatically assume the best of other people online, which can lead to them making plenty of unsafe choices when they talk to new people online. It’s up to you to talk to them and let them know how to stay safe online.
3. Allow Older Children More Access Than Younger Children
The older you are, the more of the internet is likely to be appropriate for you, just like the offline world. That’s why certain sites are only available for ages 18+, while certain sites may be available for those ages 13+. As your child gets older, they’ll likely be able to handle more internet access, while you’ll probably have to give more oversight for younger children.
4. Set Up Appropriate Meetups With Online Friends
Many people meet friends online, and that may include children meeting new friends online as well. If your child asks you to set up a meetup with a friend they met online, it’s a good idea to set up that meetup, but to put understandable precautions into place. For example, you may want to do some research on the person they’re looking to meet up with, and you might want to set up the meetup in a public place. These meetups can be a fun way to connect with online friends, but only if you do it appropriately.
No matter who you are, how you use the internet, or what age you are, online safety is important. No one can deny that. However, encouraging online safety is much more difficult than just hovering over every online choice that a child makes. You need to make sure that you’re thinking about how to teach your children online safety lessons. With these four tips, you can keep your children safe both now and in the long-term.