Today's children don't know a world without the Internet, computers and smartphones. They learn how to use these devices before they could even walk or talk.
In fact, 39% of the children in the United States own a smartphone and spend a lot of time with technology every day.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization and many governments decided to shut down their countries as an attempt to put an end to the virus. Therefore, children are stuck at home and have to take online classes or find a way to entertain themselves during this global health crisis.
Even though children mostly use the Internet for entertainment and homework, there are also a lot of dangers - from inappropriate web content to cyber bullying or talking to strangers. In fact, your child can easily become a victim online.
Some apps such as YouTube and Netflix offer parental controls, but children are more likely to become tech-savvy and find a way to outsmart their parents.
It's your responsibility as a parent to protect your child online. So, what can you do to keep your child safe?
It's important to set and enforce daily screen time limits and curfews. Screen time doesn't bring so much value to your child's developing brain and it shouldn't replace reading books or playing games.
According to many researches, screen time has been linked to obesity, loss of social skills and irregular sleep schedules. Always make sure that your child is exposed only to high-quality media.
Sharing too much information online has many risks from identity theft to cyber stalking. It's your responsibility as a parent to discuss these risks and dangers with your children. They should be aware on their own how much and what kind of information should be shared online.
With the many apps out there, it's getting easier for predators to target children. In order to prevent your child from becoming a victim, you can monitor your children's device and see everything they do online from SMS, deleted texts, pictures, search history, GPS location, social media activities, and much more.
Children do not need access to any of your passwords nor the ability to buy things online. Make sure to uncheck all boxes that say “save password” or “remember me.” A password should always be required before any purchase. You don’t want your child to order something online without your permission.
The Internet was never made for children and it shouldn't be their only source for entertainment. You should remember that it's your responsibility to keep your children safe online, but it's also important to respect their space and privacy.