How to keep your child safe on the Internet while you are stuck at home due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic?
How to keep your child safe online while you are stuck at home due to an outbreak of COVID-19
5 ways to help keep your child's online experience positive and safe.
It is very likely that these days, when schools and school facilities are closed for coronavirus prevention, your children will spend much more time online. Online teaching, chatting with friends or grandparents, and even practicing on musical instruments have moved to the online environment. Being connected helps adolescents to overcome the current lack of social contacts, which are of course essential for their healthy development. However, this presents a new challenge for every parent. How can you get the most out of what the Internet has to offer your child while minimizing the risks to children online? This is a question that is difficult to answer even in a normal situation, not to mention the current coronavirus situation.
1.Keep your children safe through open communication
Talk to your children honestly about who they communicate with on social networks and how. Make sure they understand the importance and value of supportive responses and that discrimination and insult are not right. Assure your children that if they experience something like this, they do not have to be afraid to tell you and they will have support in you. Increase your attention if you feel that your child is upset during such a discussion or if he is trying to hide his online activities. Work with your child to establish rules about how, when and where to use online devices.
Make sure your child's device is using the latest version of an antivirus program and that your privacy settings are turned on. For example, if laptop cameras are not used, keep them covered with opaque tape. If you have younger children who use a smartphone, there are parental control tools (applications) through which you can help keep your child's online experience positive. Beware of free online educational resources. Your child should never be required to provide a photo or full name to use these tools. Explain to your child the importance of keeping personal data private.
Create opportunities to spend free time online with your children with you, family and friends. Make a joint video call, play online games, show your child that you can be part of an online environment. In addition, staying connected is more important in the current situation than ever before. Help your child avoid information and content that is inappropriate for their age and may increase their fear of the COVID-19 virus. Many resources, such as those from trusted organizations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization, are available to you and your child to learn more about the virus together.
Promote good video call behavior in front of your child. Encourage your children to be kind and respectful to their classmates and to remember what they are wearing during the video call and to avoid video calls from the bedroom. Familiarize yourself with school policies and helplines where you can report cyberbullying and inappropriate content online. As children currently spend more time online, they may be exposed to more advertising that promotes an unhealthy lifestyle or other age-unsuitable material. Help your child recognize these ads, discuss with them what you see wrong in some ads, why you perceive them as inappropriate. Explain to your child that not all the information he or she finds on the Internet is guaranteed to be true and point out that this information needs to be distinguished.
Spending time at home can be a great opportunity for your children to use their voices online to share their views and support those who need it most during this crisis. Encourage your child to use online tools, for example, for online exercises that require physical activity. Feel free to work out with the kids according to the online video. Lastly, don't forget to find the right balance between online and offline activities.
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