Many parents have long taken using the Internet for granted. But it is also completely normal for most children and young people to pursue many leisure interests online. This makes it all the more important for parents to provide their offspring with comprehensive information about the dangers on the Internet.
Set rules for your child when they surf the Internet
Learning to use computers and the Internet has long been part of the curriculum at school. In our information society, this knowledge is becoming increasingly important for children’s future careers. However, the Internet is not only home to digital content that helps children learn, but also to many dangers. If their offspring have their own smartphone or computer, parents often lose track of their online activities. And that’s not surprising: parents can’t always be there when their child is surfing the Internet or control all the websites he or she calls up.
Parents should therefore inform themselves comprehensively about the dangers on the Internet. Not only explain the potential risks to your child, but also set some rules. Make your child aware that these rules are not meant as a ban, but to protect them from dangers on the Internet. Talking to your child about his or her surfing behavior on the Internet will also relieve you of the diffuse unease of not knowing what your child is actually doing.
Avoiding dangers in social networks
Social networks are extremely popular with young people and children. After all, they offer several functions at once: Members can look at pictures and videos, exchange information with their friends and find out about all kinds of topics. But this is precisely where numerous dangers exist. Personal data is the currency of the Internet. With social media providers, in chats and in sweepstakes, children often disclose them without much hesitation. This can lead not only to an abundance of spam e-mails, but also to harassment by adults with pedophilic tendencies.
Safe use of social networks therefore needs to be learned. The age restriction of 12 or more often does not help. Since no one checks the age, the little ones like to pretend to be older than they actually are. You should therefore advise your child to remain anonymous on the Internet. A nickname or fantasy name does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about your child’s identity. Create a second, meaningless e-mail address for your child, which he or she will use for all activities on the Internet.
Tip: Before your child joins a social network or chat or downloads an app, read the terms and conditions (T&Cs). This will tell you whether and to what extent the provider restricts your rights when using it.
Take child protection on the Internet seriously
We are hearing more and more about cyberbullying cases, for more information visit StopBullying. Malicious rumors, insults, and compromising photos or videos are spreading at a rapid pace online. The worst thing about it: in most cases, the spread cannot be stopped and the information remains (possibly forever) on the Internet. The same applies to all comments, photos and the like that your child publishes on the net. Make it clear to your child that the Internet does not forget anything. Make sure your child knows that he or she can come to you at any time with any unpleasant experiences on the Internet. Whatever happens – your child should be able to trust you and know that nothing has to be embarrassing for him. Also use apps to control the activity of your kids in social media, check out AlertDino for more info.
But the dangers on the Internet also include inappropriate content and copyright infringement. Children and young people are often unaware of the threat they pose. Talk to your offspring about what to do if they come across sites with pornographic, violent or racist content. Explain to them the basic provisions of copyright law and what the penalties are for illegal downloading and distribution of copyrighted material. To protect your internet connection a VPN is a good choice, read more in our article here: GrabAMeal.
Tip: If you want to play it safe, consider getting one of the many parental control programs available on the Internet. These only allow your offspring to access verified Internet content. You can individually define what you want to allow: The programs offer different extensive settings for this.
Alternatives to the Internet – there are more for children
Dealing with media needs to be learned. If you think your child is at risk of becoming addicted to certain online activities, you should set limits. Set fixed Internet times to help your child stay connected to the real world. Above all, offer him alternatives: This could be going on an outing together, going on a date with friends or joining a sports club. After all, the Internet isn’t going anywhere – so your child should take the time to cultivate hobbies and friendships outside the online world as well.