Times are changing, but one trend seems to be sticking. Parents are having trouble staying connected with their children. That seems especially tough in the era of technology.
A parent’s task is to keep their kids safe. The problem is many dangers lurk in the virtual world. As an example, according to statistics, more than 30% of teenagers have been bullied online. This guide focuses on why it’s imperative to stay involved and how to be there for your child in the online world!
Identify Threats on Time
The FBI reported that over 500,000 online predators are active each day. Children are frequent victims of grooming. It’s a process where the predator establishes a connection with the victim before requiring a meeting, demanding their explicit photos, or abusing them differently.
If you stay involved in the child’s digital world, it will be easier to recognize grooming on time. Here’s what you can do to identify and prevent potential predators:
- Discuss which websites your child uses. Are those social media or gaming platforms? Is it possible to communicate with others on those sites? If yes, it’s vital to explain they shouldn’t share any personal info with strangers, even if the communication seems pleasant.
- Ask about their friends on social media. You can befriend your child on social networks as it’s a fine way of following what they share on their profiles. But even if you don’t discuss their friends on social networks. You should know who each person is. If anyone seems suspicious, ask your child if they chatted and how they befriended that person.
- Explain why keeping profiles private is crucial. A public profile comes with many dangers. That includes a stranger watching and stealing kids’ photos and learning about their whereabouts.
Grooming signs include gifts your child received without explanation of their origin, isolating too much in their room, etc. Any behavior out of the ordinary is a signal to sit down with your child and discuss if they worry about anything.
Develop Trust with Your Child
It’s a fine line between establishing trust and violating privacy. That’s why it’s important to nurture a bond with your kid from the moment they enter the digital world. You can start by asking about the websites they visit and express interest in that content. The odds are the child will want to share more information, making it a great way to learn more about online habits.
Another way to establish trust is to be honest with your child. Explain that the internet isn’t completely safe. It’s important that they tell you if they encounter anything uncomfortable. You’ll build trust by not judging but showing support and explaining what to do in specific situations. For example, the child can avoid visiting a website where they saw something uncomfortable. And if anyone sends them a weird message, they should let you know immediately.
Help Them Have Fun in a Safe Way
The internet offers endless possibilities, and it’s all about how you use it. A child can read about different things and learn online. Even while they are playing, there might be an educational component involved.
It’s a harsh measure to ban them from the internet. Fortunately, there are ways to apply filters to web browsers to limit access to some sites. If you feel it’s necessary, you can go a step further. Ask your child to install parental monitoring apps for kids on their smartphones and tablets. It’ll give you comprehensive reports about your kid’s activities. That includes social media messages, browsing history, etc. If the child receives a message with suspicious words, most apps will send you a security alert immediately,
Final Thoughts – Be Their Guide in the Digital World
The online world is something your child hasn’t encountered before. As a parent, you should act as their guide. If they want to play, show them several gaming sites suitable for their age. You can even play together since this can strengthen your bond.
If the child is ready to build a social media profile, assist them in the process. You can guide them to creating an online identity they’ll be proud of while remaining safe throughout the process. The idea is to stay in the loop at all times since that gives you the best odds of discovering if anything goes sideways.