With children these days conducting so much of their lives online – chatting with friend, playing games, learning, doing school work – it’s important to teach them online safety skills from a young age.
Typically, parents start to think about giving their child a connected device (usually a tablet or cellphone) around the age of 8 to 10 – if you have a child this age; it’s likely that they’re begging you for one if they don’t have one already!
If you end up giving in to their requests (and even if you don’t), it’s important to teach them relevant and age-appropriate safety skills. Children of this age are interested in discovering new information, but don’t yet have the critical thinking skills to evaluate what they find. They may also be frightened or disturbed if they encounter inappropriate content.
Here are some general safety tips to teach and enforce with your 8-10-year old:
Children of this age are not ready to use the Internet alone. Although you don’t need to watch their every click, you should be aware of what they are doing and seeing online at all times:
- Keep digital devices in common family areas
- Preview any games, websites, games or apps that your child wants to use
- Set your browser to block popups
- Use ad-blocking software
- Add filters to the browser so that it doesn’t display adult content
Use Parental Control Features
To make it easier for you to control and monitor your child’s Internet use, investigate the use of Internet-filtering tools to complement your parental supervision.
- Use or search engines with parental controls
- Make sure you’re aware of how to set parental controls on all the software and devices that your child uses
Most importantly, speak to your children about what they’re doing on the Internet and use t with them, pointing out what behaviour is safe and appropriate and what behaviour is not. Let them know to come to your immediately if they encounter something online that they feel uncomfortable with. This open relationship will set your child up to become a good digital citizen as they grow up in an increasingly online world.