Most kids today know how to navigate the internet. They can type in a web address, search for videos on YouTube, and play games in the browser. But there’s more to these kids’ computer skills than what’s on their devices. The skills they use on the web help them learn lessons for the future.
How can You Talk to the Kids about Internet Safety?
Internet safety is an important topic when it comes to keeping our children safe online. We all know that children’s brains are still developing and that they are often curious and mischievous. Even if you know that your child is more likely to get into trouble on the internet, you still want to teach him or her how to be a safe and smart user. Very few parents know how to talk to their kids about the dangers of the internet, in part because it’s difficult to convey the cyber risks to the kids in a way they can understand. Research shows that both boys and girls are likely to be more confident about their ability to stay safe online than to communicate the same information to their parents. There are tips below that could to you to talk to your children about the safety of the internet.
Understand internet safety
When you think of internet safety, you probably don’t think of it in terms of the internet itself. But the internet is a powerful tool for both good and bad. Online, you can learn new things, make new friends, take new classes and receive instant and personalized news and updates. You can also get in trouble for doing something you intended to do online, like watching inappropriate material or acting inappropriately in chat rooms. The danger of the internet is that it provides the same opportunities for bad behavior while hiding in cyberspace and giving you little sense of the consequences of your actions. While the internet is powerful, it is also vulnerable to being misused by people trying to inflict harm on others.
Using analogies to explain the safety of internet use is better understandable for them. It’s probably not surprising that parents are trying to do their best to keep their kids safe online, especially because kids are exposed to online content, both positive and negative, through various devices.
Show them and don’t just tell
Some parents say that when they talk to their kids about the dangers of the internet, they feel like they are giving them orders. They wish that kids would just listen. But in reality, our kids are already well aware of the dangers of the internet. They know what can happen there too well, so why not show them instead of just telling them?
Establish rules but exercise flexibility
In an era when kids can easily access social media websites, it’s important to make sure they understand what’s appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They should be able to use the internet responsibly and to learn from the rules you set. But a rigid set of rules will make it impossible for a child to adjust to the way the world changes. The best approach is to set a few rules, give them a fair amount of flexibility, and then let them make their own decisions.
Be a good role model
Being a good role model starts with being a good parent. Being a good parent is a huge responsibility, requiring parents to raise children and make sure they grow up with the skills needed to be responsible adults. You might make sure that they use blue-light filtering glasses (click here to find out more) to protect them from digital eye strain. But what lurks inside the computer and on the internet is often forgotten by most parents. Being a good role model for internet safety starts at home. Research shows that children with involved and caring parents who talk about their digital lives and what they can and cannot do online and offline are more likely to be safe and confident users of technology.
If you have children, you know that they can be a little bit of a mystery sometimes. They can be curious, and sometimes they just don’t understand boundaries and the rules. For the most part, your job is to provide rules and boundaries and teach them how to follow them and stay safe while using the internet.