Covid has changed the way everyone’s online habits, including our kids. One survey found that screen time for children had increased by 500% during the pandemic. Some research has suggested that too much screen time for teenagers could be linked to mental health issues, like anxiety and depression.
As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. But what are you doing to protect them from bullies, predators and inappropriate content online?
Here are 5 cyber safety tools into your parenting toolkit:
1. Talk Openly With Your Kids About Online Activity
Talk to them about what they are reading, watching and who they are communicating with. Starting as soon as they access the internet will keep the conversation going as they grow older.
Also, it’s important to teach them about online reputation, and how they must be careful about how they behave, represent themselves, and interact with people in a public forum.
2. Keep Screens Where You Can See Them
It’s good practice to monitor your child’s time online, particularly for younger kids. One idea might be to keep the computer in a central spot where it’s easy to keep an eye on what your child is doing online. For mobile devices, try to make an agreement that there are no phones, tablets, laptops or gaming in bedrooms.
3. Understand Parental Controls
As we know, innocent online searches can lead to strange results, so it’s a good idea to use the parental controls/search restrictions offered by web browsers. They can help prevent your child from accessing violent or sexual material.
4. Know Your Children’s Online Friends
If you’ve ever used a dating app before, you know that some people online aren’t who they say they are. However, kids believe most things they’re told, and skepticism doesn’t kick in until later on. To avoid any online issues, find out who is in your child’s social media circles, and ensure you monitor posts.
5. Keep Track Of Online Time
Studies suggest kids between the age of five and 17 should have no more than two hours of screen time a day. To ensure they do not develop bad habits, it’s important to monitor your child’s online time, and encourage them to pursue other more active and/or less technology-driven ways to have fun.