Online safety for children: instructions to use

Motivate Your Child to Study

To prevent online dangers, it is good to communicate with the child and establish what he can and cannot do, providing the appropriate tools.

Sex crimes in which the Internet is used to lure minors are rising. Recent statistics show that children between 11 and 13 are most in danger, but there have also been cases where the victims are only 3 years old. For these reasons, it is time to prioritize online safety for parents whose children access the Internet. Children and teens need adult help to understand how to stay safe when surfing online.

Online safety is just as important as offline safety. The Internet is an excellent resource for children: they can play, learn, create, and even keep in touch with friends and family. At the same time, for parents, it is a source of worries and fears. It is also difficult to follow the continuous changes of the digital world, and often technology and the Internet can be confusing and discouraging.

First of all, it is good to identify the risks that children and adolescents incur while they are online and then put in place a whole series of protective interventions to make navigation safe.

Online security: how to do it?

First, it may happen that the child shares too much personal information, such as passwords, addresses, and photos, or that someone shares pictures of the child that the parent would not want to be made public. This information could be further shared by others, until you lose control of who sees and owns it. As a result, the child risks being bullied, made fun of and ridiculed, significantly impacting self-esteem and reputation and ultimately being inappropriately approached by strangers.

In other cases, however, the child may be watching online content that is unsuitable for his age. This can happen accidentally, voluntarily, or forcibly if forced by others. While curiosity about sex and relationships is normal, there is a risk associated with viewing pornography at an early age in building healthy interpersonal relationships.

Finally, it may happen that someone acts inappropriately towards the child. Online abuse is what happens on the web, in social networks, in video games, on mobile phones, and can have the characteristics of cyberbullying, soliciting online, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse of sexting. Danger can come from both people who know each other and strangers.

Having a clear understanding of the dangerous situations that can arise from the uncontrolled use of the Internet and social networks by children and adolescents, adults have the task of taking action to prevent or deal with them. In this regard, here are some tips to support and encourage parents in the difficult task of taking care of their children, even online.

Talk to the child

First, talk openly and regularly with the child about what he does online and ask him what he does at school. This is the best way to protect him because you can spot any problems, encouraging him to confide if he feels worried.

It’s important to make sure they understand what you can and can’t share online. Let’s help him understand who can see the information being shared and compare it to the information he would like to share offline. In this regard, just ask: “Would you give your phone number to a stranger on the street?”

We explain what personal information is, such as name, address, password, email, telephone number, and why it is important. For example, it is important to choose usernames that do not contain personal information.

Let’s talk about the fact that photos convey an idea of ​​your personality and therefore you have to be careful not to share photos that can give the wrong impression of yourself.

Let’s clarify that not everyone online is as they appear, so you have to be careful in sharing thoughts and feelings with people you only know virtually.

We explain that on the web there are also images that can disturb or make you feel strange and not at ease, and let us reassure them that they can always talk about them and receive our help.

In this type of discussion you must always stay positive and show that you understand that the Internet is a great resource but, at the same time, the parent must give the security of being the place to take refuge in case of situations that scare.

Setting the rules

Creating a family policy is a good way to start discussing online safety . With it the child understands what behavior is appropriate when on the Internet. Rules are set for children and rules for adults and in the end everyone signs their membership. Make sure that the rules are clear, always up-to-date and that they take into account the growth, wishes and maturity of the child.

In the family rules you can describe which sites can be opened and by whom, at what time you can surf online, when to ask for permission before downloading apps or spending money online. It is also a good practice to explore the digital world together , to search for apps and sites that are trusted.

Set filters

As a parent, there are many things you can do to keep your children safe online. You can control your privacy settings, use family filters and digital site control tools, allowing your child to experience the web safely. Harmless online searches can lead to results that are not exactly harmless, but the filters for minors are able to block. Filters can keep inappropriate content away from children and are easy to install. These are very effective and incredibly useful software and tools to stay safe when children use smartphones, tablets and computers.

We explain how to report negative content and offensive behavior on websites and social networks and also how to block people. Let’s check the history and ask ourselves if the contents seen by adults can also be watched by the child, if not, we delete the history to prevent them from being opened accidentally.

Discuss the Internet while remaining positive

In conclusion, although it is a difficult topic to address, it is important to discuss it while always remaining positive about the Internet and showing the child that you have confidence in the many advantages offered by the digital world. The best way to keep the child safe is not to leave them alone to explore new technological means, providing them with the tools they need to navigate with serenity.

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