The internet is a wondrous thing but children must be aware of the dangers that lurk

We are in a new era, a totally new world where children as young as five, are independent, and online. Very often, doing this unsupervised.

With the Covid-19 situation, they are online almost every waking moment. Furthermore, mummy and daddy can no longer say, “Get off the laptop. Do your schoolwork”, as that is where school is now!

What do parents do? How do they monitor what their children are doing online?

With the click of a button, children can switch from playing games to their homework page when parents approach them.

How can we know our children are not on sites they should not be visiting?

Communication. Set aside some time to speak to children about the dangers of the internet. Tell them why internet safety matters.

At Global Oak Tree Scholars International School, we have an ‘Online School Internet Rules’. We emphasise on online behaviour and what it entails.

We are also organising two workshops – for primary and secondary students – on ‘Navigating the World Wide Web Safely’ – where, among others, we talk about the positives and negatives of social media.

Parents should take practical internet safety precautions to protect their children from potentially harmful or inappropriate content and activities.

Most parents fear their children would come into contact with strangers or adults posing as children. That fear is justified.

Take time to sit at their computer and participate in activities with them.

Chat with children to find out the latest, who is playing what game and whom they know on the internet.

How many friends do they have? Are they all from their school? If some things do not tally, trust your instincts.

Trust between parents and children helps keep them safe online. Calm, open conversations about internet use give them a sense of responsibility.

When children feel trusted, they are more likely to discuss what they do online and speak about content and contacts that worry them.

If parents intend to use surveillance apps, talk openly about them, and reassure them that they are for their own safety.

Children will appreciate your honesty.

Help children identify unsuitable material. Explain to them that not all information on the internet is trustworthy or helpful.

Please encourage children to question things they are unsure of on the internet. If strangers contact them, tell them to let you know immediately.

Every time children want to sign up for a new app or game, set certain ground rules – they must first ask for your permission.

It is an excellent way of keeping in touch with the apps and games they are on.

In conclusion, keeping up to date with children in this new age of the internet is tricky. However, these days, staying vigilant is key in parenting.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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