If you are a millennial parent, then you must have weighed the pros and cons of internet safety for your child. The Internet acts as a vehicle of expression helping us stay connected. It can help kids develop essential communication skills. Teenagers develop a sense of belonging as they bank on social media to connect with friends and family.
They can plan events, collaborate on activities and even share memories for greater bonding. Social media provides the perfect platform for teens to express themselves creatively and share their talents in music, artwork, or writing. If your children are planning to further nurture their talents and develop a career out of it, then social media can help them build a brand with their talents.
Internet- A double edged sword
Despite all these positive attributes, the internet also serves as a double-edged sword. For starters, it is often used for cyberbullying which in extreme cases can lead to teen suicide. Online predators exploit the vulnerability of naïve teens blackmailing them to share personal details and compromising images.
They might also be exposed to pornography, violence, hate speech, and inappropriate content. Given the inherent risks associated with internet usage, we have shared some internet safety tips which parents and supervisors can implement to make internet browsing harmless for young buds.
Primarily, you should set clear guidelines on using social media. This will include privacy settings, time limits, and also consequences for violating the rule. Having a guideline in place will help parents manage the dangers of using social media.
If you allow your child to operate social media then make sure you have access to their accounts. This will help you monitor potential red flags as kids don’t have the maturity to detect online threats by themselves. Keeping a tab on the activities of kids might make them feel as if you aren’t trusting them enough. Herein lies the importance of explaining to them clearly that the monitoring is for their protection.
You should establish clear lines of communication so that they feel comfortable around you and discuss any issues they face online.
Parental control software
If you can’t trust your children, then you can use parental control software to restrict their access to various platforms or websites.
Last but not least, you should discuss the ways of responding to online risks. This includes reporting suspicious behavior, not sharing personal details, and using strong passwords.
Internet usage recommendations for kids and teens
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends both parents and caregivers establish healthy internet usage habits for their little ones. Children below 18 months should avoid the internet other than video chatting with family. For children between 18 months to 5 years, screen time should be limited to 1 hour daily. This 1 hour comprises high-quality educational videos as well.
Children who are 6 years and older shouldn’t have a daily entertainment time of more than 2 hours. This screen time shouldn’t hamper their physical activity, sleep, and other important schedules. Parents should create a customized media plan with their teenagers including time limits to keep their online encounters safe.
To conclude, when it comes to keeping children safe online, there is no foolproof system or strategy. Rather you need to stay proactive and vigilant round the clock. Doing this can reduce the risks and create a safe online environment where they can pick up new skills and nurture their old ones. Parents and supervisors should remember that every child is different.
They should consider their developmental stage and specific interests before setting guidelines on internet usage. You can ensure their safety and engage them in healthy behaviors by adjusting screen time limits. Clear communication can help them differentiate between right and wrong in the modern digital landscape. We hope that the internet safety tips mentioned above will help you out in keeping your teens safe online.
You can also go through some tips to keep your Camera Safe while travelling!!