What are the dangers of the Internet? Can I prevent my child from coming into contact with these hazards? Do prohibitions and rules help here? How far can I go by controlling my child? Many parents ask similar questions. Let’s try to figure out what it is and why you need child control on the Internet.
What are the real dangers (mobile phone/smartphone, computer, tablet)?
Children usually spend more time on the Internet than they need to. Many online games and gaming apps don’t have a classic ending, and after one YouTube video, the next begins. Children find it difficult to disconnect, however, as is often the case for adults.
Many games start for free but encourage you to buy various additional tools and items to help the player achieve better results.
Besides, money traps can await you on the Internet when a simple purchase turns out to be a monthly subscription. Children (and some adults too) sometimes press the appropriate buttons too quickly and carelessly, without thinking about the consequences.
Contact with strangers
Children on the Internet are relatively easy to reach out to strangers who may be dangerous to them, whether through a confusing WhatsApp group or chat about an online game.
Can I protect my child from such dangers?
Yes and no. It’s like road traffic: there is no 100% protection. But parents can reduce the risk through a variety of measures.
Rules, child control and consequences
Children need to learn to regulate their online behaviour. It will not happen by itself. Here, specific rules can come to the aid of parents. One of the difficult but necessary tasks for parents is to ensure that these rules are followed. The keyword here is control, which should not affect the child too much.
Be an inspirational person!
The rules seem dubious if the parents themselves do not subject to such control. It also applies to the use of the Internet. Parents should ask themselves: can I really do without a cell phone during lunch? How important is my tablet or laptop for me? Can I control their use? Yet children learn a lot from their parents. Take advantage of this!
The child needs to know that he can always contact his parents if something went wrong on the Internet or if he is worried or frightened by a video, game, comment. Is the child afraid of his parents’ angry questions, or maybe he is even threatened with giving up his tablet or mobile phone? Then he is unlikely to want to talk about it with his parents in the future. It is often helpful to discuss what is allowed and what is not from the outset and think together about the potential consequences of not following the rules.
Make your child strong
Parents should allow their child to know how to react if something goes wrong. It is easier for a confident child to say “No!” to a stranger who addresses him via chat or WhatsApp. The child must have enough confidence and courage to tell you about it. It is also helpful to discuss how the child can respond confidently in other situations.
Do prohibitions and rules help?
Yes. But these prohibitions and rules must be created not only after something has already happened and with which the parents disagree. Parents need to know what this really means for the child before a child is allowed to use a tablet, smartphone, apps or online games. What opportunities and what dangers gives such use a child?
Based on this, the child should have clear rules that he will follow. Why not jokingly conclude a small contract in which, among other things, the parents will mention their responsibilities? The child should be aware of the consequences of non-compliance with the rules, knowing full well that parents can turn a blind eye to some little things from time to time. At the same time, he must know that his parents play a fair game with him and follow the established rules.
To control? To follow? How far can parents go?
Making rules is easy, but complying with them is too tedious. Of course, many programs and applications can help parents control how long their child uses their smartphone or computer. Or what content needs to be blocked. Therefore, it is very important to entrust children with electronic devices to do their media education first.
Checks and controls are needed. The parents should regularly check the security settings of devices and applications or programs. Updating applications, for example, may delete previously made settings.
Of course, it’s important to know what a daughter or son is doing on a mobile phone, tablet or computer. However, controlling this secretly (also with the help of “spy” apps) is not a good idea, because children also have the right and need for personal space. Before a child receives such a device or uses a particular application, parents should tell them that they will check their devices from time to time, but only together with the child. And parents’ interest should not be primarily limited to the content of their child’s messages to his best friend.
Child's Internet use contract
Make a small (digital) media contract with your child. It will allow you to individually determine how and for how long children can use programs and content.
Remember that you must be an inspirational person and follow the rules you set with your children. It makes it easier for children to accept the agreements that apply to them.
Free time for the whole family? Or media time together?
In such a contract, or only as a general rule, it is possible to establish a day or evening free of media. That is, time without a screen (TV, computer, smartphone). Maybe instead you will play board, card or other home games, do handicrafts, or go on an excursion?
Or vice versa: you can set the time when the child spends time with you at the computer: why not build a house together in Minecraft? Or try to break records in a puzzle or quiz together?
Keeping your child safe on the Internet is the responsibility of both parents and children. Keep all devices under control and protect your family from the dangers of the Internet with InspectSystem.
Monitor your child’s activity at the computer,
being away from home.