By Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Children today have easy access to millions of websites on the Internet. There are a ton of video games and apps available for purchase or download. They can watch YouTube or TikTok videos with the swipe of a finger and stream movies on a variety of devices. In addition, social media platforms enable them to interact with both friends and strangers online. Depending on your children’s age and level of maturity, some of the stuff available on the Internet may not be suitable for them.
Therefore, it is crucial that every parent or guardian keeps an eye on their kids’ or wards’ Internet activity in order to shield them from inappropriate contents and persons.
EXPLAIN WHY YOU NEED TO MONITOR THEM
Start off by explaining to your children early on why you need to monitor their online activity. They should be aware that you are merely trying to keep them safe and not attempting to deprive them of their fun.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN SIGHT
Ensure the computer they are using to go online is in an area of your home where you can see what they are watching or doing. Remain involved. frequently check their Internet history.
DISCUSS WITH THEM
Have discussions with your children about appropriate social media usage and make sure they understand the risks of chatting with strangers and disclosing too much personal information.
Also warn them about discussing places, daily schedules, names of groups, schools, churches, addresses and other routines.
CHECK THEIR LAPTOPS AND MOBILE DEVICES REGULARLY
Specify procedures for your approval before installing new apps. Engage them in conversation to learn more about any new apps they want to instal and go over safe usage guidelines.
Since there are always new apps available, mark regular calendar reminders for yourself to check each electronic device your child uses that has an Internet connection. (Pay particular attention to social media, apps for music, images, networking and sharing, as well as online or video gaming.)
TALK ABOUT BEDROOM ETIQUETTE
Teach them about appropriate dressing, especially when live chatting with the opposite sex.
DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO HAVE DEVICES AT NIGHT
Put time restrictions on their use of devices. Allowing them use their devices at night will only expose them to potential danger and rob them of quality sleep time.
MAKE THEM FEEL COMFORTABLE OPENING UP TO YOU
Talk openly and without judgment with your children about relationships and appropriate boundaries. Teach children that if somebody asks them not to inform you, they should always tell you right away.
Give them your complete attention no matter what they are talking about to let them know you are always willing to listen to them.
TEACH THEM HOW TO RESPOND TO THREATS
Teach children how to handle various frightening circumstances, such as threats received online. In the event that they come across anything that makes them feel uneasy online, advise them to end the chat right away, quit the app without deleting anything, and report the incident to you or another responsible adult.
GET INTERNET SAFETY APPS
To monitor and manage your child’s phone and computer usage, there are a ton of mobile applications available for download. Some of them provide you the option to block text messages, block and monitor picture messages, filter your children’s web activity, keep an eye on the apps they download, and much more.
Examples of such apps include: MMGuardian, Net Nanny, ESET parental control app, Secure Teen,
Norton Family parental control and Famisafe, among others.
If someone seems to be an online predator, you should look into it and notify the appropriate authorities as an adult. Demanding revealing or nude images, requesting personal information, asking to meet, wanting to share a secret with with your child or requesting that they maintain a secret are all indications that the person your child is dealing with could be an online predator.