Encourage your child to talk to you when they come across troubling content
Excessive screen time, cyberbullying and online grooming are just some of the worries parents may have when it comes to allowing their children online. Here are tips for staying safe online from educational organisation Bee Secure.
Explore online together with your child. That way you’ll share the positive and negative online experiences together and you’ll better understand their vulnerabilities.
Apply appropriate settings for your child on electronic devices. Use different secure passwords for each account and regularly update software to prevent hacking. On a device used by a child, create a user account with limited access, define the home page and permitted sites, limit the length of time the child uses the device and their app purchases, and deactivate functions which are not necessary.
Be a role model
Set a good example. Kids learn through imitation. You are the most important example for your child. Discuss media usage and adopt exemplary habits.
Foster a critical mindset
Teach your child to have a critical mindset about what they see and read online. Look at posts and ask: was it posted as a form of advertising? Does the poster generate money each time a person clicks? Is it posted by a person or a bot? Pay particular attention to posts with brands and logos that could attract your child’s attention.
Keep informed by reading widely on the subject. Bee Secure regularly posts timely articles in French and German on internet security.
Establish ground rules with your child. Set a limit on the amount of screen time they have each day and when (avoid before bedtime), avoid screen time for under 3s, when possible, and give your child some freedom. Parents of adolescents should accept that it will be impossible to monitor everything their child does online.
Think before posting
Teach your child to think before reacting to social media posts. Discuss the risks they run into in different scenarios, such as sharing personal information and photos.
Learn about gaming
Take an interest in the video games your child plays. The PEGI label helps parents find games adapted to their child’s age and skills. If you know how a game works, it is easier to set limits on the duration of time your child spends playing it.
Research which websites and applications could be beneficial to your child. The internet can also offer a world of learning experiences for children.
Encourage your child to talk to you when they come across troubling content. Discuss ways to respond and good habits to adopt in future. Tell your child that they can trust you and you will support them.
This article was originally published in the Delano 2020-2021 Expat Guide