The internet is vast and complicated network of content. It is also now one of the staples in our lives such as electricity and water. It’s only natural that our kids will be exposed to the internet at some point. Kids are jumping online at a younger age than ever so it’s in our best interest to educate them about safe and best practices when surfing the web.
Some of the risks for kids surfing the web include:
- Content that might be disturbing and upsetting such as violence or pornography.
- Contact from strangers who can be posing as friends or something the child trusts.
- Cyberbullying and other forms of conduct that can harm other people’s feelings.
Here are some ideas for tackling these issues:
- Create a media and internet plan. This plan is created with consultation and input from the kids. It include things such as screen time limits, where the internet can be accessed from (for example no internet in the bedroom) and what information is ok to post online (no personal information for example).
- Use child-friendly search engines like Kiddle, or content providers like ABC Kids, CBeebies, YouTube Kids or KIDOZ.
- Use the internet with your child. This way you are aware of their online habits.
- Trust your child. The last thing you want is for your child to feel as if they cannot be trusted. This will cause them to find ways to hide things. Trust that they can make the right decision and have consistent conversations with them.