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Our children are growing up in the digital age. This means not only do we have to teach our children to be safe in the real world; we also have to teach internet safety. Teaching your child how to be internet safe can be tricky, especially if you’re a parent who’s still uncertain about the internet as a whole. No matter how you feel about the internet, the reality is that our children are learning how to use the internet at a younger age than ever before. Today I wanted to share some tips on how you can work to teach your child to be internet safe so that you can feel more confident allowing your child to use the internet.
How to Teach Internet Safety
As your child gets older they don’t talk as much about their world, unless you give them opportunities to do so. Be sure to keep your communication open constantly. This means during dinner time or random drives to the grocery store can be used for you to ask questions about your child’s activity on the internet. Ask questions that engage your child to discuss their interactions on the internet, so that you can have an idea of how to discuss the safety options during that conversation.
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If you expect your child to practice certain manners, morals, and values in real life with person to person interaction, then you need to set forth those same expectations with the internet in the digital age. Your child needs to hear what you expect them to do online, and what sites they’re allowed or not allowed on. Setting expectations of both their behavior and websites that are allowed to be visited will curb most dangerous situations from occurring on the internet.
Once you’ve established your guidelines and expectations of internet safety for your child, it’s time to discuss what will happen if they make a bad choice. Just as you would discipline your child in some way for misbehaving in person with others, you must set these same disciplinary tactics for misuse of the internet. If you see that your child is being rude or talking to strangers, they’ll need to have a break from the internet until they can gain your trust again.
There are many ways you can roleplay dangerous situations and conversations that may occur on the internet with your child. Role-playing is a great way to teach your child how to be internet safe because it gives them a visual and allows you to represent situations that may not immediately trigger your child to realize they’re engaging in a dangerous situation. Role-playing can be done as an entire family and feel free to invite their friends over, with parental permission, to teach a group of children at once.
Set Family Protections
There are many ways a parent can monitor their child’s online activities with the use of a router, family protection service or similar. Many companies have come forth with a new way to set restrictions using a parental account, as your internet service provider if they have such an option. Setting family protections and rules as to what your child can access on the internet will keep your child internet safe until you feel they’re ready for access to the whole World Wide Web.
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Each of these tips to teach your child to be internet safe will help you and your child live a safer lifestyle while growing up in a digital world. The internet isn’t going away if anything it’s only getting larger as you read this. The internet can be a very safe and educational place for children if you keep open communication, set expectations and consequences as well as role play to showcase what internet safe choices are.
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