In the US, there are cases where children who used the internet accidentally engaged in sexual solicitation and pornography. Some cases involved receiving messages from an unknown source and some children would respond. Online crime has also been rampant with children being the frequent victims of the act.
The internet has greatly influenced people in all age groups, especially children. They are attracted to watching videos and playing online games. But it’s also an avenue for your children to be exposed as victims of sexual assault and online crime.
As parents, you can’t be there to watch your children make every move when browsing the internet. But you can ensure the safety of your child by following these steps:
- Don’t allow them to give personal information
Tell your kids to never divulge any personal information on the internet—address and phone numbers. If your kids encounter an unknown number calling on their mobile phones, you can use the reverse phone lookup feature of Google to find out who it belongs to.
- Apply your house rule “Don’t talk to strangers” even on the internet
Let your kids know that this rule is also applicable online. Don’t let them join any chat rooms where they can encounter sexual offenders. Although it’s not a bad idea to be friendly and meet new friends, make sure you discuss with them the risk of meeting new people online.
- Set limits on time and usage
Practice your child to use the internet properly since the educational system nowadays has completely anchored on the internet. If they’re doing their homework or researching something for school, go ahead and let them use it. But if they use the internet for gaming, set a limit on how long they can stay online. With this, you can ensure your kids aren’t spending too much time in front of their computers which can also be harmful to their health.
- Set up parental control
Since anybody can access the internet quickly, browsers have devised a way to protect children by filtering information they’re allowed to explore. This is very helpful for parents who can’t watch the browsing activities of their children. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
- Make online surfing as your bonding moment
Like watching TV, why don’t you make this as a family activity? This way, you can watch closely what they’re browsing. Another idea is to devise a trivia game where they can look for the answers on the internet. Just make sure that you turn on the safe filter when using the search engine.
- Explain the dangers of the internet
Proper awareness of the risks when using the internet will make your kids wiser when using technology. Discuss with them and explain the possible dangers that they can encounter when browsing. Tell them that they should be open to you as parents and communication is key. They should inform you if they’re receiving suspicious calls or messages from unknown numbers.
- Designate your computer for common use
The common mistake parents usually make is that they individually provide gadgets to each of their children. Because it’s in their possession, your children may explore sites that aren’t kid- friendly and contains adult material. You might want to designate the use of your computer. Make sure that safe browsing options and filters are set up. Having access to the computer will also allow you to track the browsing history and have an idea on what your kids usually search for on the internet.
- Designate a common place where they can use computers
If your kids have a personal computer, assign a common area where they’re only allowed to use their computers. Make sure that you’re present in the area when they’re browsing so that they’ll be cautious about their activities on the internet. Inform them to work in the area where you can see the screen clearly.
Since you won’t be present all the time whenever your child is using the internet, proper awareness and guidance should be done so your child will be a responsible user of the web. Explaining the dangers associated with the use of the internet will instill a mindset that they should always be cautious. Keeping our kids safe on the internet is a reflection of good parenting and will protect them from possible cases of online crime.