Today's parents have a lot to worry about when it comes to their kids. From what they put in their mouths, to whom they're talking to online. And with the increasing popularity of online gaming, knowing the best internet safety tips for kids is more important now than ever.
It's critical that parents understand the risks and equip kiddos with proper tools, so they can make smarter decisions.We know this can be a daunting task, but fear not! With a few easy steps and some common sense know-how, you can keep your kids safe while gaming online. Read on for our top tips on how best to monitor your child’s activity virtually.
Why is internet safety important?
Protecting our kids online is no joke! With ever-changing technology, cyber predators can be lurking in any corner of the internet. That’s why, as parents, it’s our job to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet. Kids are like sponges, they absorb absolutely anything they come across online. In consequence, we have to be wiser than the wiliest super villain when it comes to keeping them safe!
Just look at these facts:
- About 37% of kiddos between the ages of 12 and 17 have been victims of cyberbullying
- As per the FBI, at least 500.000 online predators represent a danger to kids on a daily basis.
- At least 1 of every 7 children are contacted by online predators daily while they’re navigating online
That's why it is so essential to educate children on the basics of internet safety. From encouraging them to think before they post content, to teaching them which websites are safe and appropriate. An emphasized understanding of online safety will help empower kids with the tools for a positive digital footprint. Even a harmless game or conversation can put kids at risk if they're not properly equipped with internet awareness.
Ensuring a secure online experience for kids means monitoring their activity and limiting their access to inappropriate content. It also means teaching them about cyberbullying, respecting others' privacy, and reporting any questionable content or activities.
Undoubtedly, internet safety is one of those battles that can never be won with absolute certainty. As a result, it makes us set boundaries and ground rules for our kids to stay protected.
1. Spend time with them online
In this age, the online world is like an unknown country to parents, so it's important to get acquainted. By bridging the digital divide and becoming actively involved with their kids' virtual lives, parents can be sure that their little ones are staying safe and protected.
In this sense, you can sit down to monitor and guide their activity and teach them about digital literacy. Additionally, watching them while they’re online will allow you to check the websites they usually visit. Finally, this practice will help you teach them the online etiquette for kids, so they can surf with respect.
For these reasons, you should dedicate some time to check your kids while they’re surfing the worldwide web.
2. Keep devices in a common area
Keeping computers in common areas is more than just an organizational strategy. It's about keeping kids safe.
Undeniably, allowing children to freely access the internet in their bedrooms can be dangerous. After all, it opens them up to exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying threats and potential hackers.
On the contrary, keeping computers in a common area of the house, like your kitchen or living room, is safer. That way, you can snoop around and get the inside scoop on what they're up to. Plus, if we can see what our kiddos are surfing online and make sure that they’re playing age-appropriate games, then they’ll be better protected. Additionally, it allows them to stay in contact with other people instead of locking themselves in a room.
So look around your home and pick a prime location for the family's computer. Surely, it will bring you more peace of mind down the line.
3. Talk to them about online chatting
It’s no longer considered strange to give kids apps and gadgets these days. That’s why, making sure you talk to them about proper online etiquette is a must for all parents.
Of course, kids love chatting with their friends, but it's important to remind them about some rules. In this sense, you need to walk them through the dangers of online chatting. Explain to them why, just like in real life, they shouldn’t talk to strangers. Additionally, warn them about the dangers of sharing too much information and walk them through the meaning of cyberbullying
For this, you can use the game “How would you feel if…” and talk about hypothetical situations. “How would you feel if someone asks you about your home address?” “How would you feel if someone asks you for your phone number?” Have a guided debate about it and always encourage them to talk to you.
4. Take them through the basic rules
It's no secret, parenting in the digital age can be challenging. But as all great parents know, boundaries are key. That’s why, setting basic internet rules can ensure a safe online experience and minimize tension between parent and child.
Some good boundaries and rules are:
Be sure not to give out your personal information online – that includes your address, phone number, and passwords
No downloading anything without permission
Never ever talk to strangers
Understand that what’s posted online is forever; think twice before posting anything questionable.
Don’t click on any unknown links or attachments
Remember that if it sounds too good to be true – like free iPads! — then it probably is!
Stay away from inappropriate content and never use mean words or bully anyone.
Always talk to your parents about any issue that may be bothering you
5. Watch out for any warning signs
From signing up for a new social media account to spending a lot of time talking to strangers online, there are numerous warning signs that can help parents spot if their child is being targeted by an online predator. For example, withdrawal from family activities, not wanting to talk about their internet use, and secrecy around their technology.
Even if they're tech-savvy, it pays to brush up on the strategies predators use to prey on children's naivety. Parents should be familiar with the accounts and sites their children use and monitor who they are chatting with. Keep an open line of communication with your kid and stay updated on any suspicious activity they may be trying to hide.
6. Always have a controlled screen time
Controlling screen time with their kids can often seem like an intense and daunting process for parents. How do you prevent your children from blowing through their allotted time and ending up with a sleep deficiency? Well, let me tell you – it's no small feat! But at the same time, regulating screen time is incredibly important to keep them safe in the technological landscape.
In this sense, you can set a specific schedule for them to play online. On the other hand, you can set up their electronic devices with a screen time regulator. There are many options!
Limiting their access to screens forces them to focus on other activities – such as reading or playing outside. In consequence, this can all help foster behavioral control and even build better relationships with family members.
Online gaming and internet safety: Final thoughts
Well, there you have it! Everything you need to know about online gaming and the best internet safety tips for kids. We hope this article has been helpful in guiding your decisions about the online world and how to keep everyone safe and sound.
As always, if you have any questions or would like more information on any of the topics we've covered, please feel free to check out our other blogs or contact us directly. Thank you for reading!