5 Tips on How To Keep Children Safe Online This Holiday

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Now that most children are out of school and on holiday a lot of parents are concerned about keeping their children safe. As a parent, you generally try to keep your children safe in any environment that they are in. And now with the emergence of the internet, it has come to the attention of most parents the importance of keeping their children safe in the online environment. Now more than ever, children are facing bullying, predator attacks, and access to inappropriate content online.

In India over 37% of parents have admitted that their children have been victims of cyberbullying at least once, which is 5% more than in 2016. However, there are no statistics for Kenyan children on cyberbullying but this gives us a glimpse of what is actually happening to our children. Your child might not tell you what is happening but it is your duty to stay on the lookout and keep them safe on these online streets.

According to a recent survey done by “Safe Online, Safe On Land” on how children in Kenya use the Internet, it was revealed that 66% of children were using the Internet (78% male, 22% female) and were between 13 to 19 years of age. The research showed that the children spent more than 20% of their time online accessing inappropriate content and chatting with people they do not know. One child said, “They are just social media friends, we discuss anything with them because they are available even though we have not met.” (Source: Internet Society Foundation).

The survey further revealed that children spent 26.5% of their time on movies, 15.8% on adult content, 15.82% on games, 5.31% on cartoons, 5.31 on betting, and 10.11% on other things.  This just goes to show how important it is for parents to actively take part in the protection of their children’s safety online. Here are 5 tips that will help you keep your child safe during the holiday season.

Also Read: Access to phones critical in child safety

Activate parent control features on the children’s devices

A lot of parents tend to ignore this, but the parent control feature was created for a reason and it can actually help you keep your children safe. Some innocent online searches can bring out some not so innocent results. You can turn on parental control by going to settings/search filters then activating safe search. This will work to block explicit content on that particular device/browser.

Talk freely to your children about what they should or shouldn’t do online

Having an open window of communication between you and your children about their online activity is a great start in protecting them. Ask your child what sites they visit or apps they use and familiarize yourself with those apps.

Make sure you communicate with your child on what you think is appropriate for them to be sharing and posting online. And do listen to your child and reach an agreement about what is right for your family. Remember the time will come when they will access the internet outside the safety of home and you want them to be prepared for that. It’s vital to teach them about their online reputation, and how they must be careful about how they behave, interact with people and represent themselves in such a public forum. They must always remember that the internet isn’t private and it doesn’t forget.

Set specific times for children to be online

It is important to monitor your child’s time online, as more screen time means more opportunities for predators and bullies to get access to your child or enhance bad behavior for your child. Get your children to agree on a period of time that they want to use the internet in a day and set a timer to go off.  Don’t forget to make this a non-negotiable time.

Keep screens and devices where you can see them

Always make sure you have an adult around when your children are using the internet and they can always be able to see the devices and catch a glimpse of what is going on. You can also make an agreement with them that there are no devices allowed in the bedroom, this will limit screen access without parental supervision.

Also, do make sure you check the device’s browser histories after your child has been online. This will give you insights into what they have been searching for. This approach obviously gets harder as children grow older and work out how to clear histories – which is more reason to open the lines of communication about internet use at an early age

Know your children’s online friends

As adults, we know that some people online aren’t who they say they are, but children and young people can be alarmingly naïve about who they are chatting with if they are not taught to be cyber wise from an early age. Make sure you become friends and contacts within your child’s social media circles and ensure you monitor posts. Your children may resist but tell them that that is one of the conditions for you to allow them access.

While the Internet can open a world of possibilities, without proper supervision and education, it can also expose young people, who are easily gullible, to dangers. It is therefore our duty as parents and adults to always ensure that we do our best to keep our children safe both in and out of the internet.



About the Author

Sharon Adisa
Sharon is a writer and editor who strives to continually further both the depth and breadth of her skills as a writer so as to contribute superior work and deliver client and customer satisfaction.

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