In the previous piece, the first three things that parents and caregivers could do, to save their children and wards from the risks inherent in surfing online, as stated by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and Cece Yara Foundation, were discussed.
In this piece, the next three things that parents and caregivers can do to save the children will be highlighted.
Discuss with and Engage your Children
- Ask how your children use the internet. Make them show you some of their favorite sites and discuss with them. Make them to be aware that, there are things on the internet, which may upset them and that they can always talk to you, or any trusted adult about anything they encounter on the internet.
- Make sure that your child realizes that he, or she should never give out personal details, such as name, address, school and telephone numbers, to online friends that they do not know in the real world.
- Tell your child to never respond to junk emails, or open attachments that are from unknown sources.
- Be aware of any changes in the way a child uses the internet, such as the amount of time spent online. You should, also, support your child to report bullying online, by telling them to contact you immediately it occurs.
- Encourage children to use nicknames and login names that do not reveal any personal information about them.
- Educate children on the possibility of people using fake names online, purposely, to cheat, hurt, or impersonate others.
- Use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package, to block off some sites that you do not wish your child to access.
- Work with your child to understand how search engines, work so that they do not stumble on inappropriate content.
- Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider, or from retailers. These can help block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider, to learn how to block sites that you do not want children to see.
- Gain the child’s, or young person’s confidence, by appealing to his, or her interests, teach them to think twice, before they upload, or download anything online.
If your child is using online platforms, or programs for schoolwork, ensure a healthy balance, between non-school related online activities and offline time:
Here are some helpful tips to help you achieve this:-
- During non-school hours at home, establish time limits around when and for how long, your child can be online.
- Use the available technologies, such as parental controls and tools, to monitor online you allow your child to have. The technologies allow you to measure and set time limits on device use, or internet access. Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies.
- Turn off notifications for social media apps, to help minimize distractions when your child is online.
- Depending on your child’s age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent, in front of screens, with offline activities. You can find templates, by searching online.
- Include ‘offline’ activities in your routine at home. This can include family exercise, reading time, or board games.
Model good behaviour in your use of media and digital devices:
Generally, children will imitate what they see in the influencers around them, hence, parents and caregivers must take active steps, to ensure that they set the ideal example for online behaviour, that children can follow.
- Some tips on how to achieve this are suggested below:-
- Set a time to your own media usage
- Where you use media, or devices heavily, due to work, it is important to explain this to children, so they understand that you are not just playing online.
- Avoid forwarding content to your children that you have not verified. Share lessons with children, about other adults, who have lost out of opportunities, due to their uncontrolled online activities.
More on what you can do to prevent your child from online risks, as emailed by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and Cece Yara Foundation, will be continued in the next piece. Please watch out.
Featured Image: nairametrics
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