The adoption of distance learning means more than ever, children access the internet and use digital platforms to complete their schoolwork. Here are three tips to help parents educate their children about internet safety.
1. Teach online responsibility
The best online safety lessons recognise the complexity of internet usage and help kids build critical-thinking skills to navigate uncharted territory. Experts agree that instead of underlining what our kids can’t do online, we should focus on what they can do. “When we think about teaching our kids about their [internet] rights,” says Stacey Steinberg, a child welfare attorney, “it might be helpful to think about it in a manner that can empower them.”
2. Switch on safe searching
Content filters and parental controls block harmful and inappropriate websites. For younger children, installing monitoring software may further protect impressionable minds. Resources such as Safer Internet Centres raise awareness on online safety issues and offer practical advice to equip children, parents and educators on potential risks of the internet.
3. Tackle cyberbullying
Research shows that over 70 per cent of high school students witness cyberbullying, which often has mental, emotional, and physical repercussions. Platforms carry built-in features that block offensive language, but no social media site is childproof. The best approach is to have open discussions with your kids on identifying such language (i.e. telling them the difference between a joke and bullying) and who to talk to when it happens.