It is no longer a rare sight to see children playing with an iPhone or an iPad and expertly using mobile apps like YouTube or Instagram. They are, after all, generation Z—the most technologically savvy age group. And as with many things, this has its pros and cons.
During the launch of the Cybersecurity Safety Authority’s (CSA) #GoSafeOnline Campaign, Chairman Mr. Teo Chin Hok noted the grey area of the internet. “I think the internet is a very wonderful resource for providing children with exciting and education materials to explore and to learn. But at the same time, there is a massive risk online as children expose themselves to various risks and challenges.”
So how do parents ensure that their kids are protected on the internet? Here are 5 tips!
How To Protect My Child On The Internet: 5 Helpful Tips
1. Get To Know The Apps And Websites Your Child Is Using
Parents need to stay updated on the apps that their child might be using
In order to help your kids online, parents need to educate themselves on the various websites and apps that their kids might be going to. Mr. Teo noted that parents nowadays are not as technologically savvy as their kids and because of this they are unaware of all the dangers they might be facing. Almost every day thousands of apps are released and many of these may not be safe for children. Therefore, they need to constantly stay updated about dangerous apps and websites.
2. Monitor, But Don’t Ban Your Child From The Internet
Overwhelmed by the scary stories of the internet, parents tend to be tempted to ban children from using the web. However, that does not solve the problem, sooner or later kids will have to use the internet. Especially so when even schools have online e-learning portals where children are given assignments. So instead of taking this drastic step, parents should monitor their child’s internet history and teach them the do’s and dont’s of internet safety.
3. Add Parental Controls And Anti-Viruses On Devices
Parental controls are a big tool for parents to monitor their child’s activity. Many mobile devices and laptops offer these parental control which can limit the time your child goes online and flag inappropriate websites. For example, Apple’s newest operating system iOS 13 allows parents to track their child’s data usage on specific apps up to a month instead of a week. Parents should also consider installing anti-virus software such as Bitdefender Total Security or Norton Security Premium on their devices for further protection online.
4. Keep Communication Open Always
While monitoring is good, parents should ensure that their kids are also openly sharing what they are doing online. This not only lets parents know what their kids are up to but also builds a strong bond. Parents ought to create a supportive environment so that even if kids do something wrong online, they will still approach their parents for help.
5. Teach Your Children Do’s And Dont’s Of The Internet
Educate your kids about the golden rules of the internet and about personal information.
- Share your password, full name, address, IC number or anything that can identify you to anybody
- Meet anybody online outside without parental supervision and permission
- Click on sites that advertise “free” items, these might be phishing sites
- Reply anybody in your spam folder even though they may sound like they know you and need your help
- Hide anything from your parents or teachers if anything goes wrong
- Use the internet for school work and projects, it is a great resource
- Watch movies, videos and listen to your favourite songs
- Stay connected with your friends from school
We hope these tips have helped you protect your child from the dangers of the internet. At the end of the day, parents cannot ignore the internet in today’s digital age. The best thing they can do is to prepare their children to stay safe online always.