More than 80% of teenagers spend the majority of their waking time online. They like to be constantly connected and try everything to do that. Parents continuously worry about what their children do online – what they are watching and whether they are at risk.
The American Psychiatric Association states nearly 54% of parents worry about censoring their children’s online activities. Parents do not want their kids to get into innumerable cyber dangers. But they are afraid to warn the kids or set strict rules because they think their teenagers will miss out on their social life because of parental restrictions.
Here are a few tips for parents to guide teenagers into using the internet effectively and securely. Every parent must follow these five steps before allowing their kids access to the internet.
1. Set Screen Time Limit
Kids as young as two years use the mobile to see rhymes and watch cartoons. They are the prime target customers, leading to the enormous success of “Baby Shark” and “5 Minutes Crafts“. If your child is aged less than 13 and uses your mobile, tablet, or computer to go online, watch what they are doing.
90% of kids aged below 13 use the internet, especially mobile phones or tablets, to play online games and watch YouTube videos. Set a particular screen time using the specific apps which come with a screen lock facility.
Allow the children to use the mobile-only for particular hours to protect their eyes. Set the screen time after a discussion with your kid and do not give the password to them.
2. Make Them Browse in Public
Never allow the kids to browse the tablet in their bedroom until you are confident the child is mature enough to handle it themselves. Insist they use it in the family room or in the presence of adults. Most teenagers will seriously rebel against this particular rule. Warn them about social media stranger danger.
3. Parental Control and Monitoring
Tell them their activities will be monitored closely for a few more years through parental control software. Warn them about using adult sites and instruct them to come out of it if they enter or come across them mistakenly. Teach them how these sites get used as a breeding hub for malware which will extract all vital information from the computer
Pro Tips: Try using Net Nanny, Kaspersky Safe Kids, and Norton Family on your mobile to provide extra protection. Tablet and laptop version of advanced Norton parental control is also available.
4. Know Their Passwords
Instruct the children to share their passwords with you and insist on knowing about their new social media accounts and passwords too. Teach to use a reliable password manager from a young age and depend upon complex hard-to-rack passwords. If the child has a separate login in the computer, check it using the password and ensure they do not have any extra accounts without your knowledge. Make the children understand it is for their benefit, and your parent-policing will keep them safe.
5. Make the Kids Use Privacy Settings
Make them follow strict privacy settings when they use social media. Tell them only their well-known friends and family members should see the photos and posts they share. If they befriend anybody new online, use the Nuwber tool to check them. Allow the children to accept their friend request only if they are legitimate.
Warn them strictly about believing everything the stranger says. Teach the kids to report to you if the new friends try to talk to them using swear words or send them the wrong pictures.
Pro Tips: Insist your child’s settings in Google, Amazon, Facebook, and all other social media site gats set to private. Browse online together to find the steps and ensure the settings are always in privacy mode.
Have A Productive and Friendly Discussion with Kids
Check the history tab on YouTube to see what kind of video your kid watches frequently. Try watching one or two of the videos yourself to ensure there is nothing controversial shown in them. Play the games your child likes most to get a handle on the gaming environment.
Conservative parents often get a cultural shock if they see female characters donning a bikini or next to nothing in games. Some games are too violent, and some YouTube videos explore everything openly, from homosexuality to walking nude and worshipping Satan.
Talk to your kids about these alternate ideas with an open heart. Ask their view and tell them what is acceptable and not acceptable. Guide them to change their gaming avatar to be more decent.
Strictly prohibit them from playing the games until they comply with your rules. Tell them why specific ideas shown in the YouTube videos are not practically acceptable when you live in respectable society.
Most kids love when their parents talk with them and feel highly respected when parents ask their views about something they love. They are very pliable and talking to them in a friendly way is enough to make them feel proud and obey you. If the kid rebels, tell them in a no-nonsense way what the rules are and why they have to follow them.
Pro Tips: If the child is too young, allow them to use only age-specific services like YouTube Kids, games suitable for their age, etc.
Keeping your children safe from online dangers and indecent exposure is no easy task. Be it a teenager or a much younger child, only parents should take care of their usage of the internet, and video games. Take productive steps to educate them about the online dangers and have a heartfelt discussion with them regarding their choices. Use the technology to monitor their activities and tell them they will get monitored until they are adults. Allow them to browse only in public and know their passwords. Have a tab on whom they befriend online and act like a protective shield to them.