The Internet has undoubtedly made our life so much easier. However, when it comes to your child’s online activities, parents must protect them against undesirable people and content deemed inappropriate or harmful. Thus, learning a few online safety tips can go a long way to keeping your kids safe. Here’s a guide to e-safety.
What is E-safety?
E-safety, also known as internet safety and cyber safety, means staying safe on the internet. It refers to protecting kids from harmful content online, including grooming, adult content, and cyberbullying. Parents and teachers play important roles in safeguarding the well-being of children when using the internet. To provide the best protection to kids, you must be familiar with e-safety.
The internet has reached every corner of the globe, giving billions of people access to different content. While it brings about many great things, such as creating opportunities for children to learn and show their potential, it can also put vulnerable kids at risk of harassment and cyberbullying. Children are among the most persistent internet users, so they can easily fall victim to cyber criminals. By knowing some e-safety tips, parents and teachers can protect kids from the danger of the internet.
Since devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets, are getting more affordable, everyone can easily own one, including kids. Unfortunately, the constant use of these devices can also increase the risk of kids to unwanted content, bullying, and other types of cyber abuse that are now frequently happening. On top of that, content has become easily accessible, with private information getting leaked and accounts hacked. Thus, the need for e-safety is now more essential than ever.
Getting Parental Controls
Parental controls refer to a group of settings putting parents in control of the content that their child can view online. Along with privacy settings, parental controls can help them protect kids from cyberbullying, online grooming, and accessing inappropriate content. Unfortunately, many parents will not put much effort into using parental controls, thinking they may be complicated.
Parental controls are device or software specific. You can implement them in search engines, internet service providers, video streaming sites, games, chat software, and more. They are not difficult to learn, and you don’t need to be a techie to figure them out.
Parental controls can filter inappropriate content for your kids. On YouTube, a popular video streaming site many kids use, you can enable parental control on the app’s settings by activating restricted mode to hide videos with potentially mature content.
While parental controls can help minimise the risks your kids will face when using the internet, they are not 100% effective. As a parent, you must also teach your kids essential skills like critical thinking and resilience so they will know what to do if they encounter something upsetting or inappropriate online.
Thinking Before Uploading & Downloading Content
Parents must also explain to their kids the importance of protecting their privacy when using the internet. The internet has significantly changed the way people communicate, but your kids should be mindful of the people they interact with online and the things they will post.
Advise your kids to think before uploading or downloading content online. Your kids must understand that once they post something on the internet, they can no longer control how it will spread. Anyone can share, forward, and save it. Furthermore, they should understand that even some password-protected websites are not secure, and deleting the post does not mean it’s forever gone.
You must also teach your kids to think before they click and download something. Not all that’s free is necessarily safe. Aside from the potential copyright issues, free games or movies can have viruses that could ruin your kid’s device once downloaded. It can occur when they visit dodgy websites offering flashing ads for free games and software. Even if the device has antivirus software, scammers may still access your child’s device if they are not careful with the content they download.
Know about Cyber Bullying
Another topic to talk to your kids about e-safety is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is similar to bullying, except that it takes place online. Yet, it has a similar psychological and social effect on your kids’ minds. What makes it even more intense is that online bullies can hide their identities.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying has become common over recent years, from online threats to hateful comments and even spreading rumours. The onslaught of hurtful messages can make kids depressed, with some extreme cases resorting to suicide.
As parents, you should know how to identify signs of cyberbullying and the proper measures to take when your child is a victim of cyberbullying. Unfortunately, some kids are often embarrassed to talk about it, so make your child feel that you are there to listen and understand what they are going through. Assure your kids that you will be there for them even if they think they are at fault.
Having Regular Conversations with Your Children
E-safety is a broad topic. You cannot discuss everything in one sitting, so you must talk regularly with your child to ensure they remain safe whenever they use the internet. Make it a part of your daily conversations, just like you would talk about their day at school. Doing so can help your child feel relaxed. When you have a regular discussion with them about e-safety, they will be more at ease and are more likely to open up to you.
It’s a good idea to take the time to research e-safety before discussing it with your child. Sometimes, you could get overwhelmed with the various technologies and the numerous games, apps, and websites coming up daily. So, educate yourself by doing your research.
Familiarise the games your kids are playing or the website they often visit. Don’t hesitate to ask your kids about the stuff they do online. If you have time, you can even play with them so you will have an idea if the games are safe. Find out who they are talking to online and the friends they meet on social media. But try not to appear intrusive. Choose your words carefully when talking to your kids.