It can be a tricky balance helping your child learn about the potential dangers of the internet without scaring them off using it. As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children about internet safety while also highlighting all the amazing opportunities the internet provides for connection and learning. As soon as your child expresses an interest in going online you should think about talking to them about doing so safely. Here’s some tips from an independent school in Farnham Common on helping your child use the internet in a safe manner.
Explain how it works
Your child will probably be fascinated by the amount of information that’s available online, and once they start using it, it will probably become a regular part of their daily life both at school and at home. Take the time to talk to them about what the internet is and what people can do there, so they know the opportunities it presents; at the same time, explain how some people use the internet to take advantage of others. Impress upon them the importance of only talking to people they know.
Caution against over-sharing
Your child will soon realise that the internet provides opportunities for people to share anything they like, but it’s important for them to realise that over-sharing can be a bad idea. Make sure they know not to share personal photos or information with people they don’t know, and that they shouldn’t give in to peer pressure if they’re being encouraged to share something they’re not comfortable with. This can be particularly prevalent on social media, so it might be an idea to limit your child’s social media consumption if possible.
Keeping a sense of perspective
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the world is full of tragedy and bad people when we can watch the news 24/7 or get the latest updates instantly on social media, but encourage your child to keep a sense of perspective. Explain that a lot of false news circulates on the internet, so they might want to fact-check before instantly believing something. Point them to reputable sources of information they can rely on, and remind them that good events happening in the world aren’t highlighted as much as negative events (which are often rarer).
If your child is young, it’s probably best to monitor their internet usage and make sure they only go online when you’re in the same room so you can safeguard them against any dangers.
Following these internet safety tips for kids will help you to keep them safe.
Do you have any other internet safety tips for kids, let us know in the comment section below!