With social restrictions lifted, many children may soon be able to return to classrooms and face-to-face activities. However, they still spend a lot of time online, visiting social networking sites, chat rooms, virtual worlds and blogs, or playing games or surfing the web. It is more important than ever for parents to be aware of what their children are doing online and help them navigate the cyber world safely. Here are some smart suggestions:
Have an ongoing conversation, set boundaries and boundaries. Intense online use interrupts real-time socializing, exercise, sleep and other activities that help kids stay healthy. Model other ways to use downtime. Agree to screen time rules such as “No devices allowed at dinner or bedtime”.
Know the harms of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp etc. meet with Note that pre-teens may exceed the age limit of 13 to sign up for these apps. This means that all young children are vulnerable to seeing posts, status updates and photos that could make them feel unpopular. This can have a negative effect, especially on those with low self-esteem or those who are troubled.
Review what respectful communication is and how your child’s words and actions can affect others.
Use and review privacy settings one by one. Also explain that passwords should not be shared with anyone, not even a best friend, and should not share obscene photos or other private information. Remind them not to be “friends” with strangers.
Use security tools. Use the SafeSearch option in browsers, parental controls on Facebook, and other security tools on social media accounts. Make sure your child’s computer and devices have the latest software updates and anti-virus programs.
Monitor their internet usage. Use timers, check the cache or browser history or log of sites kept by your router, and/or install monitoring software.
Talk openly about cyberbullying. It could be in an email, text message, game, or on a social networking site. It can include spreading rumors or images posted on someone’s profile or circulating for others to see, or creating a group or page to make a person feel excluded. Ask your kids to tell you if an online message or picture makes them feel threatened or hurt. If you are concerned about your child’s safety, contact the police.
Browse your child’s page to look for malicious comments. Do not react to the bully and tell your child not to respond in the same way. Instead, work with your child to hide the evidence and make them comfortable talking to you about it. If the bullying continues, share the recording with school officials or local law enforcement. You can also help your child remove the bully from their friend list or block their username or email address.
For more guidance on reducing risks and helping children make safe decisions, visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/protecting-kids-online