There are several types of technology that your children are probably around during the day whether it’s at school or at home. These types include computers, phones, and video games. When your children begin going online to communicate with their friends, stream their favorite cartoons tv shows, and movies on their favorite streaming services like Disney+ or Planet Dish, and play games online. They need to know how to stay safe. There usually isn’t a certain way to start an internet safety conversation. Instead, you should simply begin to talk about what to look for and what to do if something does occur while online. One thing that you should avoid doing is instilling fear in your children while they are online. This can make them want to avoid the internet altogether. If done in a safe way, using the internet can be fun, educational, and can allow for communicating with family members and friends who they might not be able to see.
One of the ways to begin a conversation with your children is by using common sense. Look at some of the things that your children might encounter while online and think about some of the things that you’ve seen while on the internet yourself. If your children feel as though they can trust you with information, then they will likely be more willing to come to you to talk about situations that occur. They will probably want to ask more questions about how to use the internet and what to expect from websites as well before they just jump in and try to look at everything that they possibly can online.
An issue that is, unfortunately, present online is cyberbullying. Children experience themselves or see other people being bullied. Sometimes, they don’t know who to tell or how to react. When children feel that they can approach you about someone being bullied, then it could lead to getting help for the other person or for your own child. The bully can be dealt with in a professional way and receive the proper punishment if it reaches that point.
Don’t feel afraid of checking the devices that your children use. Some parents don’t want to read messages or look at the websites that they visit, but in order to keep your children safe while they are online, you need to be comfortable in seeing what they post and send to other people as well as the information that they’re seeing while they use the internet. If you do see something that makes you uncomfortable or that they shouldn’t see, then approach the topic in a manner that’s not confrontational. You don’t want your children to be afraid of you if you find something. Instead, ask your children about what they’ve been doing and allow them to explain themselves. This can also be a time to talk about peer pressure that your children might experience in school or in other locations aside from online. If there are issues with a bully or other topics, then you want to encourage your children to take screenshots and to obtain as much information about the other party as possible so that the details can be reported.
Try to set limits on how long children can be online and where they should use the internet while in your home. Make sure any anti-virus software that you have is regularly updated. You should also let your children know that anything that’s posted online is usually there to stay and that they can’t get the information back.