Let’s face it, today’s parents are faced with so many different challenges and it’s becoming more difficult to protect the children from unnecessary dangers. However, even though these issues appear to be insurmountable, there are some things that a parent can do to protect their children in and off the Internet. So, for those parents who are concerned about the inherent dangers of a child using the Internet on a regular basis, here’s are some key tips that parents should pay close attention to.
1.) Digital Natives Learn The Dynamics Of Internet Technology Easily And You Should Be Prepared
It’s not uncommon for children to learn technical information online very quickly while adults tend to lag behind in learning what’s presented to them. Since most kids have been introduced to electronic games, they may apply these same skills so it speeds up their learning curve substantially. There isn’t a parent among us who hasn’t handed over an iPad or Android tablet in a moment of frustration knowing full well that it will by a few minutes of peace. Most of us then marvel at how easy it is for children as young as 2 and 3 to unlock and load up their favourite games unassisted.
When they are presented with digital information in a fun format the child will grasp quickly, our brains are designed to absorb information like a sponge at that age, it’s how we have survived the world for eons. In many instances, the child may think that they are simply playing a game instead of being educated and this can be adapted to develop useful future skill and also to influence the child in a long term manner.
On the other hand, because most parents do not have a lot of time available to spend online like their children, they can easily fall behind in its most advanced technologies and the associated subject matter. It is proven that adults learn at a much slower rate than children, coupled with the fact that if the adult shows no interest, or a fear of the subject matter there is almost nothing that will change their mind. To correct these and other associated problems, the adults must be aware of what’s actually happening so that they can educate themselves in advance so that they can protect their children from both visible and hidden dangers online. For example, there are specific terms and lingo online that the parent must be familiar with so that they will always know what their children are talking about as well as what they are communicating to others.
It is wise for a parent to try and familiarize themselves with current internet terminology, reading up on a few articles about social media and apps, internet safety will benefit endlessly. Staying informed and prepared is paramount
2.) Talk To The Children About The Dangers
Many times children are exposed to dangerous situations because they have not been told what they should do and how to respond if certain things in life occur. Similar to normal life circumstances, children should also be taught how to handle things that they encounter online. From entering adult social network sites to being contacted by an adult to meet them offline, there are things that a child will not know unless the parent takes the time out to talk with them about it. Therefore, one recommendation that many parents may want to follow is making a list of things that should be covered with the child about the Internet as a whole. For instance, the child should be told that they should never communicate with an adult online that they do not know. Once the parent tells the child that they shouldn’t talk to a stranger online, they should also be told why. The whys of any situation can assist the child with making a better-informed decision, especially because they can use their own thinking skills to protect themselves in bad and unexpected circumstances.
3.) Use Top Recommended Software Tools That Are Designed To Protect The Children
As stated previously, there are others who are concerned about the safety of the children online too. Therefore, there are many sites that address various kinds of problems that place our children at risks. Fortunately, these sites are great for providing a wide range of tools that parents can use to assist them with their efforts. In fact, some sites will provide specific kinds of child supervision software that address specific needs and Internet safety. For instance, there are software applications that parents can use for browser protection, smartphone protection, and web content protection. These tools can go further in the protection process since it will also track and record malicious sites and adults’ sites that children should not access at all.
Even though there are so many scandalous people online that want to lure young children into sites that they should not be, there are also parenting software tools that can assist with these and similar issues. These sites can detect keystrokes of specific terms and words that a child should not access and will alert the parents accordingly.
4.) Social Network Parenting Sites – Great For Recent Information
Parents should also know that they are not alone in recognizing the inherent dangers that threaten our children online. In fact, there are many parents online that have these same or similar concerns, and they will share what they have learned, both the good and the bad with others who need the help. These sites are normally great for providing other parents with what they may need to do to solve specific problems. Especially, because parents will also have an opportunity to asks specific questions about situations that relate to their children. This peer group mentality acts in the same way an extended network of friends and family would’ve in years gone. By tapping into a social network of other parents who may be learning the same information together, or who may have already experienced it and are passing their knowledge on a nervous parent can get the information they require quickly. However, just because it is on the internet does not mean it is in anyway reliable. You still need to use your personal “Idiot Filter” the same way you do in real life. Verify any information you can with several reliable sources. Luckily if you are internet active this can be but a few clicks away. The small bit of extra effort can prove very useful if you can separate the helpful advice from the hokum.
5.) Mobile Devices And Internet Parental Controls
In the past, adults were the only ones who had mobile devices. Today, as technology advances and children are included in this phenomena, it is not uncommon to see a child carry their own mobile devices with them from home to school and back. Since more parents are buying their children mobile devices like Smartphone’s, there are other doors of opportunities of mischief and dangers that’s opened up online as well. Which means, the Internet at home is not the only concern for parents today. In fact, a mobile device leaves more room for dangerous things to happen including the child telling their parents that they are at one place when they are actually at another.
Keeping these problems down and at bay is an issue that parents must address if they want their children to remain safe. With this said, there are numerous parental controls online that parents can make use of, and they include software apps that can be installed that monitors all of the child’s activities (i.e. chat rooms, photos, GPS and etc.).
A quick Google search for your device name and parental controls will show instructions on how to set them up.
Once they are set up you will be able to restrict usage of certain app and limit the time your child can use the device or the internet.
Most devices will come with some form of parental controls, you can enable them directly with your internet service provider, and then on the device. Tablets, phones, PC’s and games consoles all have some version of this technology.
Just as in real life the stories of danger are actually a lot rarer than most media and scaremongers would lead you to believe. There is no need to fear the internet, same as there is no need to fear going outside. Both worlds have their dangers, but it would be cruel to deny a child access to them.
Provided that the parents are suitable informed of the potential dangers and know how to communicate this to their children then the child can play safely.
Set up boundaries and limits your child can roam within. Set up enforced curfew times and restrict unsupervised access and there is little reason to be afraid. Gone are the signals that we all grew up with. “Don’t cross the road without an adult,” “When the street lights come on it’s time to go home,” “Stay where I can see you,” they have been replaced by more modern expressions “Don’t download without checking with me first,” “Stay on these sites,” “Never go on 4chan without an adult”
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