A parent’s concern over their child’s Internet safety is prevalent, especially in the current phase of technology. Parents fear exposure to online predators, cyberbullies, and mature content, among others.
At times, it might seem too scary for our children to be online – but fear does not help anyone. To help appease that fear, here are a few arguments from the Huffington Post’s Deborah Schoeberlein David and Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families global director and founder Lynette Owens for parents and children to consider:
1. Kids need their parents to be parents
Setting proper limits to electronics and to Internet usage might not be popular with your child, but being a good parent is far more important than being liked.
Living with rules and learning the consequences when they are not followed is important for kids as they grow up. Making and enforcing these rules are not meant to oppress your children, but are learning tools for their benefit.
Parents must also have passwords set-up before any downloads are made on Internet-connected devices that their children use. In addition to that, families must only download apps produced by legitimate companies while doing some research beforehand, too.
2. Set expectations on Internet and electronic usage
If your children follow the rules, give them the privilege of using their gadgets; and if they break them, they lose those privileges. This is a deal based on cause and effect and not a type of punishment.
Parents should be able teach their children to be wary of suspicious emails, links, and websites they come across. Moreover, kids must be able to know which links or websites are legitimate before even accessing them.
Limiting electronics and Internet usage might not be popular, but being a good parent is more important than being liked.
3. Parents must try to understand from their child’s perspective
Your kid’s brain is different from yours so it is possible that they can’t understand your perspective yet. While you might have explained it thoroughly, they might not yet have the capacity to understand fully why certain websites are not suitable for them even if their friends might have visited them.
4. Use appropriate strategies that establish rules that promote healthy behavior
Letting your child use their devices in the living room or kitchen will allow you to watch over them – but do not hover or shadow their every move. Parking their electronics in the living room at night will limit their online activity and help them sleep.
Become tech-savvy and proactive in their online lives. While parental controls can be good, checking on their devices and accounts from time to time can aid in their cyber behavior. Likewise, installing mobile apps that can scan and safeguard devices can also help. Check some of them out here.
5. Step back and check your own mental and emotional state
Parents should be calm for everyone’s benefit – losing your temper does not help. Set rational limits while also enforcing consequences appropriately and compassionately. This is a learning experience for both parties; so teach yourself to stay calm and remain present and effective.