How Can I Teach My Child About Internet Safety? – It’s not easy being a parent and it can be difficult to keep your kids completely safe online. You can’t be there every second they’re online and someday you’ll have to trust that they’ll make the right decisions. The only way they’ll be able to make those right decisions is through what you teach them. Here are some tips on how you can teach your child about online safety.
Understand Internet Safety
To adequately teach your child about online safety, you need to know everything there is to know about online safety. You can also call your internet provider to help you set your browser to kids friendly. Once you’ve equipped yourself with the right knowledge and feel confident that you can talk about it, only then will you be able to have a true discussion about it. Some of the topics you’ll want to brush up on are potential online dangers, how to keep safe online, how to create strong passwords and what sites are popular amongst kids today. Knowing about popular online games, social media sites and other popular sites they’ll visit will prepare you to be able to speak on how to stay safe while using them.
Start Internet Safety Conversations Early
Is your child going to start using an home internet enabled device soon? If so, now is the best time to start a conversation about internet safety. Children start using the internet much earlier than previous generations and some children start as early as kindergarten with school issued tablets. While schools do install safety measures to help you protect them, you don’t want to wait until after they get their new device to start talking about it. As with anything else your child learns, learning the basics of internet safety will take time to understand and practice. The conversation about online safety doesn’t stop after the first discussion. These discussions should be age appropriate and relatable to what your children are doing online and will be doing very soon.
Set Rules For What They Can & Cannot Do Online
It’s important to set some ground rules for your children so that they know what is acceptable behavior, what is unacceptable behavior and ultimately what behavior you expect from them if they’re going to be allowed online. Don’t wait until you see something you don’t like or something bad happens to set ground rules. Part of setting some ground rules is to keep them safe even when your children don’t like what rules you’ve set.
Keep An Open & Honest Line Communication
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is keeping an open and honest line of communication open. If your child finds themselves in trouble online, you want them to come to you first instead of hiding it or trying to handle it themselves. The key to keeping this open and honest line of communication open is listening, not overreacting and providing actionable advice up to and including getting the police involved if need be. Punishing your child for whatever trouble they’ve found themselves in will only encourage hiding future problems for you and may permanently close the door for them ever confiding in you ever again even with things that are not online related.
Practice What You Teach
How can you expect your children to be safe online and follow the rules you set for them when you don’t do them yourself? It’s important to practice what you preach and lead by example. At the day you are the most powerful influence toyour children. Show them what it means to be safe online and how important it truly is to follow the rules you’ve set for them. Doing so will set an example to emulate without having to lecture, yell or use any negative reinforcement that may encourage rebellious behavior instead of the behavior you expect while online.
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