As a parent, you know taking care of your child is your most important responsibility. Of course, you would do everything possible to keep them safe from harm or trouble. But, as every parent knows all too well, there will come a point in time when you can no longer monitor every action or step your little one takes.
Take, for example, their ability to access and use the Internet. In this day and age, it’s all but impossible to keep your child from getting online and using technology, so it’s not something you can avoid. Family law group professionals recommend, however, that you can take proactive steps to inform them about proper Internet use and teach them how to keep themselves and others safe.
If you’re preparing to embark on this journey, take a deep breath. Then, consult the guide below to get started.
How to Teach Your Child About Safe Internet-Browsing Habits
Children have a tendency to be intrigued by the unknown, making them more likely to go out seeking answers to questions that maintain a certain sense of mystery. If you act as though the Internet is this big, bad thing they need to avoid at all costs, they’re more than likely going to let their curiosity overwhelm them. This could lead to them accessing information and sites they shouldn’t be exposed to, simply because they want to experience Internet browsing for themselves.
Instead of shrouding the world wide web in mystery, be upfront and honest. Explain that technology and the Internet are helpful, meaningful resources that can add to a person’s everyday life. Then, let them know that just because they can search or look up anything they way, doesn’t mean they should. They should always exercise caution when browsing on the internet and check with an adult if they’re worried some kind of content could be inappropriate for their age.
Teach Them About Strangers
One of the biggest fears parents have about letting their children use the internet is the worry that they’ll start talking to dangerous strangers. Before giving your child access to any devices, explain that they need to exercise excess caution when communicating with other people. They should never give anyone their personal information, such as their full name, address, or phone number. They should also never send pictures to strangers. Teach your child how to block and report any suspicious activity, as well.
Explain Proper Spending Habits
It’s almost guaranteed that at some point, your child is going to find an App or product online that they want to buy. If you keep your credit card information stored on any personal or family devices, they might not know any better and could accidentally lead to significant unexpected expenses. It could also expose them to materials you aren’t comfortable with them seeing.
The best way to prevent either of these outcomes is to teach your child to never make any purchases without express permission from a parent. Show them what an online purchase process looks like; that way, they’ll know what to avoid. If you have concerns about them still accidentally spending money online, consider unlinking your credit card information from any device they’ll have access to.
Keeping Your Children Safe
It’s understandable that you might feel nervous about allowing your child to start using the internet. But by setting solid ground rules beforehand and taking the time to teach them about proper browsing habits, you can keep them safe while also providing them access to a world of knowledge and exploration.