Last Updated on April 13, 2017 by Marie Bautista
I have a question.
How many of you parents allowed your children to play with your laptops, tablets or smartphones – without supervision?
And how many of you have children as young as six who have social media accounts?
As parents, I know that we mean well. We try to guard our children into conquering the world as they grow older. We teach them that they should look right and left when crossing the road. We tell them to always be nice to friends and classmates. We warn them to never talk to strangers.
But with our children’s generation, it has become a herculean task to be protecting them from something they practically know more than we do – the internet.
Ever since the birth of the internet, we have been using the internet to communicate with others, including people we have to meet personally yet.
Which is quite o.k., for us adults, because we know the rules.
However, nowadays, we can see children as young as six or even younger using the internet. In fact, I know quite a lot of moms being proud of how “techier” their little children are than they are.
But what if a seemingly innocent search for “bunnies” would turn up photos of women with bunny ears?
The internet is evolving fast, and we as parents, can hardly keep up with the changes. We cannot pass on rules because we haven’t experienced this new technology when we were younger.
But our children being more tech-savvy than us does not mean we do not have the maturity to guide them on how to behave online. The online world may innovate so fast and our children may always be on the loop on what is the newest app or the most happening site that we parents haven’t heard of, but the most important thing is that we, as parents, should give them the basic tools to stay safe online.
The Basic Rules To Stay Safe Online
Don’t Talk To Strangers.
Like in the real world, children should fully understand that conversing online with a person they don’t know is a big no-no. They should never ever give their personal information like their name and family members’ names, home and e-mail address, phone number, school, passwords or photos.
They should also know that people in the internet are not always who they say they are.
Sometimes, our children are secretive about their activities. It would be good to have something installed on their smartphone like a child locator wherein you can track your child’s location in real time, assured that he in his school during school days, at home when he is supposed to be home and warned when he enters dangerous neighborhoods or unusual and unlikely places.
Just as you are a part of your children’s real world – you know their classroom, their school playground, their best friends, you should also be a part of their cyberworld. Know what sites they visit, who are their online friends, and check on them frequently. If you cannot personally supervise them, make sure you are being aided by Familoop – website blocker which blocks inappropriate websites and filters out harmful content.
Tell them to inform you when they see something that makes them uncomfortable. Promise them that you will never overreact.
Don’t allow your grade-school children to use the internet on a tablet or mobile phone unsupervised.
If you have allowed your children to have social media accounts before they turn 13, make them include you as a friend. When they become older, you can stop monitoring your children, as long as they know your internet safety rules by heart. Why? If you keep monitoring them on social media, they may just make another social media account, making you unaware of what their social media activities.
Be careful of what you post on social media.
I have read somewhere that whatever we do online, we leave a digital footprint. A single post or a photo in social media has the possibility to be shared to thousands of people. That is why we should warn our children to be very careful of what they would share online. This goes out to us parents as well.
Use filters and parental-control software.
We as parents SHOULD ALWAYS use filters and parental-control software. All computers and tablets come with its own parental-control options.
When searching via Google, you could always use Google SafeSearch to filter out anything you would not like your young child to see or read about. For YouTube, you can put the settings on Safety Mode to filter anything you would not like your children to watch.
There are also paid-for innovative parental control packages being developed, like Familoop – parental control. Familoop offers one of the most complete protection, like blocking unsafe websites, filtering inappropriate pages, controlling social networks, child locator, healthy device and app restrictions and insights which can guide you through potential issues. This product is launching in September 2015, but you can opt in early and avail of a whopping 60% discount when Familoop Safeguard is launched.
Parental-control softwares can help a lot, but teaching our children how to behave online is still the best way to keep them safe in the online world.