Few years back, INTERNET or online presence was a choice. But, today, it is a NECESSITY; a basic necessity indeed!
Whether you like it or not, you have to have an online presence. And if you don’t, you are considered backward and become an object of mockery.
Today, INTERNET is a place where your child has to be. If you want him to excel in his studies, get good grades or become popular amongst his/her friends, you gonna get him surf the net.
But, what about the internet safety for kids?
The WORLD OF INTERNET is not your own personal park where you can let your child roam about. It’s a ‘bazaar’ where everyone is out to roam, sell, buy, and do a hoard of things.
There comes the dilemma!
Should you let your child on INTERNET? What about his safety? What if he becomes the target of Cyber bullying? (the recent example is Blue Whale Game)
Worrying about internet safety for kids is so natural for every parent!
So, here’s what 6 blogger and expert Moms say about the internet safety for kids. And I am sure their internet safety tips will guide you towards the right way of using the INTERNET yourself and your kids.
#1 Anshu Bhojnagarwala
Most kids have an online presence today due to school projects or entertainment. However, they are also susceptible to Cyber bullying, online predators and coming across inappropriate content.
I have started practising these internet safety rules for my 7-year-old:
- My daughter watches YouTube and has downloaded many apps on my smartphone. I keep a track of these apps and see if they are child-friendly or appropriate for her age or not.
- I am always around when my daughter is playing with my phone and do take a sneak peek (without her knowing) into what she is watching.
- I regularly ask her what she likes to watch on YouTube. I browse through the history too which gives me a clear indication about the type of content that interests her and that is suggested to her by Google.
- I talk to her about the issues related to the internet – that she has to be smart and not give my phone numbers and other personal information to the app. If an app asks for it, then she should not download it or ask me first.
- I instruct her to not open my work related apps or WhatsApp. Inadvertently, she may open my Inbox and delete important emails or reply to a WhatsApp chat. Till date, she understands the rule.
These rules are alright as long as my daughter is using my smartphone. But, I will upgrade them when she has her own laptop or smartphone when she turns into a teenager.
#2 Menaka Bharathi
I have always let my children learn the latest gadgets and since my elder one is nearing his tweens, I set clear rules for him.
You simply cannot keep your child away from internet because even the smallest of their home assignments needs some sort of searching to be done. And in this age keeping your child known of what happens around him is very important.
Well, I have a set of very simple and effective (for my kiddos till date) rules:
- Always have a separate time for browsing and stick only to it.
- No browsing alone; always browse sites only when an adult is present with you.
- If you see any kind of explicit content just scroll off.
- Keep the parent informed of any content that keeps arising repeatedly because we need to know what makes it appear and reappear.
- I check the browsing history and also have the account that my son uses so I know what he does.
- Know what sites your child frequents and what content are displayed there. I even play some of his games so I know what advertisements are inserted in them.
#3 Shailaja Vishwanath
Although my daughter doesn’t have a social media presence (she’s under 13), she uses the internet for school-related research work. Plus, she has access to apps that have been pre-approved by both my husband and me. We’ve made it clear that she is to approach us if she ever comes across any content that she is uncomfortable with or unfamiliar about.
As parents, we have put in place parental controls on her computer as well as safety locks on the device she uses to access the internet.
If you are considering starting your child on the road to internet use or social media platforms, here are some tips that may help:
- Never accept friend requests from strangers. The same stranger rules apply online as much as they do offline.
- If a message from someone makes you uncomfortable, let the parent know immediately.
- Keep a time limit on social media and digital use. It can very easily become addictive. Instead, spend time offline, reading, playing a sport or spending time with your friends.
#4 Chandni Agarwal, Cyber & IT expert, National ICT Award Winner 2016
In today’s era, where the child uses the technology at 1 or even less, their care becomes more important for parents in terms of physical, emotional and social aspect.
Digital Citizenship becomes one of the key areas to be known for everyone.
This generation is the first generation of parents and teachers to raise and educate digital natives. Digital natives are kids born during the age of digital technology. Additionally, they are extremely familiar with computers and the internet from an early age.
Having an online presence is a commonplace now and this continuous access lends itself to worry about protecting privacy, presenting our best selves, and understanding with what we are constantly swamped.
For parents it is important to intervene in their Cyber world to not only protect them from online threats, but teach them how to be responsible digital citizens.
With the 24×7 online presence, our teen is most affected and the major threat is Cyber bullying. Here are the top ten tips for the teens for their online presence and safety:
- Password Protection – Don’t share your password and follow password protection rules.
- Talk to a trusted adult- Share your problem with a trusted adult to get genuine consultation.
- Grandma Rule – Before posting any post on social media, think thrice and think for how your family will react to it.
- Report to school – In case you encounter Cyber bullying, report to your school, teacher or principal.
- Collect evidence – Collect the evidences such as snapshots and chat snapshots as an evidence to report for the Cyber Crime.
- Report to site – All reputed sites prohibit Cyber bullying. Immediately report to the site about fake id problem, unknown followers, etc.
- Trusted Sites – Don’t open the untrusted sites. Check for HTTPS sites instead of HTTP.
- Check online presence – Check your online presence by writing your name and check the result.
- Do a reverse image check – You can check reverse image search on Google to check your online presence.
- Make use of Licensed or open source software, firewall and authentic Antivirus to be safe as the first victim is your system which invites all Malware.
BE SAFE and HAPPY STAY in the VIRTUAL WORLD.
#5 Ashvini G. Naik
I’ve always maintained and believed that kids absorb only from their role models; most of the time, it’s us – the parents. So whether it’s about being glued to a gadget, spending narcissistic time over posting one’s perfectly filtered picture or surfing a particular website, they learn all that from us.
Hence, according to my honest views, it’s best to take care of your own online activities first as you’re passively telling them what it’s like to be making your virtual presence felt.
So way before your son/daughter turns about 12-13 (before which according to me, he/she should NEVER have an email account or a social media profile), it will be great to talk to them about both the perks and perils of being on social media.
Tell them precisely about strangers, online impersonators, fake accounts, predators and hackers just the way you sensitively discuss robbers and kidnappers with them at a younger age; so that they know how to stay wary of these nasty people.
Similarly, stay cautious over accepting friend requests from unknown people or even those whom you share mutual friends with. You never know if that’s actually a trap they’re laying down for your kid. Many paedophiles (a person sexually attracted to children) have been found to be sharing online connections with the victim’s parents only to find out that they never knew them in person.
Another major responsibility that you owe to your child is letting him/her feel safe and respectable by NOT sharing their photos or videos (or even name) online, specially on Instagram where the privacy quotient is way lesser than those of the other media.
And finally, discuss about sex with your tweens before you patrol or spy on them to catch them watching porn.
I shall always remember my biology teacher’s words when she said, “Let them learn about sex from the right source than hunting for it from the wrong source.” This will enable them to share a free and friendly rapport with you & they’d never shut/minimize their window as soon as you enter the room, steal their night naps for watching some sleaze and encountering dangerous sex rackets. This is way promising than installing NETNANNY on your systems!
#6 Praggatti Rao
I must emphasise that the basic rules for internet safety of kids starting out in the virtual world are no different than the ones when they venture out in the real world.
Our kids despite being the truly well-wired natives of the digital world still need the same hand-holding and explaining through the pros and cons of the virtual world and how it makes one vulnerable.
Even before they embark on this journey, a casual, yet a must-do talk around the safety on the net, existence of cyber-bullying, implications of password sharing, appropriate language and decency in comments, stranger danger, and digital footprints will ensure that they don’t under estimate the power of this potent, yet very explosive tool.
With the recent increase in the number of social media addiction syndromes, a proper and firm consumption of the same needs to be decided.
- Practically, keeping the gadgets in the common areas of the house instead of the individual rooms helps.
- Assigning usage time frames and restricting the hours spent on them is another big factor to be kept in mind.
- Children’s mistakes in the worst case scenario need to be the stepping stones to more empowering discussions and course corrections rather than
- Keeping a healthy outlook towards gadget usage will definitely help.
Aren’t these rules to ensure internet safety for kids important? Did you take note of them? Which one is your favourite?