Internet Safety: Teach Your Kids To Stay Safe Online (But Make It Fun)
It’s been a long lockdown. And we’ve spent a lot of it online. Especially if kids have been in the mix. We might have started it with the best intentions of staying active and doing fun things with the kids. But it’s gone on a lot longer than any of us expected. And no one can be blamed for turning to the Internet for entertainment to steal a few precious moments of peace.
We finally seem to have come to a point where the end is in sight. But internet usage isn’t slowing down. And as kids grow up, it’s likely to be in higher demand than it ever was. So it’s never too late to teach a bit of online safety.
Safety, when kids are little, is much easier. There’s a time in your little ones’ life when a pushchair parasol protecting them from the sun or a plug socket cover was all the safety they needed. But the modern world brings current safety issues. Online security sounds like a laboriously boring subject. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few activities with internet safety weaved into the fun.
Have A Family Games Night
Kids spend a lot of time online. And most of that time is spent gaming. Thanks to the Internet, they can stay in touch with friends as they level up in their favourite games. This also opens up the opportunity to communicate with people they don’t know because of community chat features.
Having a family games night is an excellent way to see the game they love and explore the communication features. So get them to pick their favourite game and sit down to play it with them. Use this time to get to know the game yourself and chat with kids about who they’re playing with.
Set Up A Video Playdate
We’ve all used Zoom and Skype to stay in touch with loved ones over months of lockdowns. Set up a little date for your kids with their friends. It’ll help them feel connected to others and gives you another opportunity to talk about safety online.
It’s also a great chance to settle on some rules surrounding their use of the apps.
Learn From Them
There are millions of apps and sites. And more and more are added every day. You’d be forgiven if you can’t keep on top of all of them. Capitalise on the fact that your kids will know about all the trendy apps way before you will.
Get them to teach you. You could start by asking them to do a little presentation on their favourite app. They could do it in any form, like a drawing, just let them get creative. And let them be excited about telling you all about something they love.
Keeping it safety-minded, ask them to include safety features and any risks they might think the app has. That’ll lead to an open conversation about navigating the online space.
When it comes to actually talking about online safety, it’s easy to stumble over words. Because there’s a lot to go over, and it can feel intimidating. Here are a few tips that’ll help and topics to go over when it comes to teaching kids about safety online;
- Get familiar with the Internet yourself. Learn everything there is to know because it’ll help you become familiar with the risks. And it’ll make talking about it easier.
- Set out boundaries for what your children can and can’t do online. If there are limits to their screen time, let them know and tell them why. Firm limits make navigating online much easier because they know where they stand.
- Make sure to teach kids not to share their personal information online. Don’t scare them too much, but make sure they understand the real dangers of releasing information online.
- Inspire your children to come to you if they have a problem. It should be a no judgement zone because you want them to go to you first if anything happens. Sometimes kids find their way onto sites they shouldn’t, even if they follow the rules, so go easy on them.
- Teach them that posting online means people all over the world can see it. Even if it’s not intended for them. So before posting on social media, they should be comfortable with the fact anyone can see it. And if they’re not, then they shouldn’t post it.
- Get into the habit of speaking about the Internet regularly. If they’re used to talking to you about it and how they use it, then they’re more likely to come to you with difficulties.