Children are being to new dangers on the Internet, some parents are so over-concerned that they ban their children from doing everything, while some have no idea what their children see on the Internet.
If your child is exposed to harmful content on the Internet, your child is at risk of having life-long mental disorders and risky behaviors. That is the reason why you – smart parents should act now, prepare now, to help children navigate the digital world effectively. We will give you the advice for each age.
Help children navigate the digital world – First, recognize the 2 most common mistakes from parents
“You can do whatever you want!”
This often happens in families where the parents are not tech-savvy. Don’t get it wrong, parents are still strict with their children about Internet devices usage, but they are just strict about the “outside”, which means that they restrict their children’s phone/tablet/laptop use, take away their phones/tablets/laptops when it’s time to bed, etc.
But, the problem is, when the kids use the Internet devices, what do they do in it? What content they have seen? Parents totally don’t care and have no idea about that.
“You are prohibited from using any Internet devices”
In contrast, this happens to parents who are overly concerned about the toxicity of the online environment. Therefore, they decide to completely ban their children from using any Internet devices and treat them as innocent three-year-olds.
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How to cleverly navigate the digital world of our children?
0-1 years old
If you are the type of parent who is extremely careful, you will not let the children watch TV. It’s totally fine. However, children who are about 6-month-old begin to have the initial awareness of sound and images. This age range is actually easy because children at this age do not understand the content at all, so they can watch anything.
1-3 years old
Installing Youtube Kid and only allow your children to watch Youtube Kid. This app requires parents to log in with the parents’ Google account and provide information about their children. The most important thing is to declare the child’s age. Youtube Kid controls content by age quite tightly. Some parents perjure your children’s age up to 1 year (for example, you will declare your 3-year-old child as a 4-year-old) so that your child has more content to watch.
The advantage of Youtube Kid is that there are no ads, and because it’s a non-profit channel, there are fewer click-bait videos that only aim to get views. However, if there are still nonsense channels/videos that you feel uncomfortable/unsafe about, then feel free to block the whole channel.
The important thing is parents should not watch TV when they are with their children. Some parents were lying on the sofa, turned on HBO to watch Deadpool with the kids sitting next to them. Some families also watch dramas, movies that have fights, curses, and bad languages. If you have done that before, don’t ask why a few days later your kids learn to curse, and don’t punish them, as they just learn from what their parents watched.
In short, parents should sacrifice their right to watch TV when there are children around.
From 4-6 years old
Children at this age have one more requirement: playing games, and playing games often requires borrowing their parents’ phones/tablets/laptops. This case is quite complicated. To solve this, children should have their own personal tablets. Why?
This 4-6-year-old range is when children start to understand and start to reason. If they observe that each parent has a phone, they will ask why they do not have one. When parents try to explain to children that parents need a phone to do things, children will not be convinced.
It is important to teach children not to borrow other adults’ phones because personal communication devices are now too sensitive that should not be told to their children. It should be taught that borrowing someone else’s phone is as impolite. There are huge amount of kids who are crazy about phones. If they cannot have their parents’ phones, they will try to borrow from someone else who has a phone.
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That is the reason why having a personal electronic device makes children feel that they are being treated fairly. And the truth is a well-managed personal device is much safer for children than sharing a parent’s phone.
From 6-10 years old
This is the age when young people begin to have social interactions online, the guidance and control of the interactive environment must be carried out strictly.
Absolutely not creating a social network account for children as it is no coincidence that social networking apps like TikTok and Facebook are all labeled 13+, it is extremely dangerous for children to innocently jump into a social media platform.
Unfortunately, many parents opened Facebook for their 6-year-old children, then the whole family interacts socially, chats via Messenger, mom posts Facebook photos of children to gain likes. Also, many families let their children watch TikTok, Youtube since childhood.
You should note that TikTok and Youtube are also social networks, not entertainment video apps. To ban children from using social networks is also simple, on personal tablets, you use Parental Control to ban apps that you do not want your children to use. Usually, if the account is set to the correct age, these apps will automatically be hidden. In case of emergency, you have to use an app blocker.
Nowadays there are schools that often have closed social networks for students. These closed social networks allow teachers and students to interact with each other for learning purposes. Some online teaching apps also have a similar closed social environment. Parents can allow children from 6 to 10 years old to use these closed network app to practice children using social networks beforehand.
10-13 years old
Social networks usually require children to be over 13 years old to sign up for an account. However, after the age of 10, the need to interact with classmates is quite high, then choosing what social app to use depends a lot on the friends and connections around your children. That is the reason why parents must stay beside closely to guide their children.
This is also the age when children can open their first Google Account (you can fake your child’s age as Google does not allow people under 13 to open an account). Teach them about account security, how to create and save passwords, how to get back your social media account when you lose your password, etc. These are the first online safety skill that children need to learn.
This is also the age when parents can talk, guide their children when they first encounter negative elements from the Internet like inappropriate content like porn, terrorism, extreme violence, etc., and from social networks like cyberbullying, curses, offensive, hurtful languages.
The reason you should teach your children to learn to participate in social networks at this stage is that they are still babies and they can share with parents what upset them, you can hear from them. After the age of 13, children will usually no longer confide in their parents about what they meet online, they will keep it to themselves.
13-15 years old
This is the stage where, in theory, there is no longer a technical solution to limit children’s exposure to the online environment, Family Link also only supports children under 13.
But at this age, your children’s brains are not yet fully developed, that’s why they can be more negatively affected by harmful content like pornographic, terrorism, extreme violence, accidents, etc. and risky behaviors like some dangerous TikTok challenges, etc.
TOP 5 timeless Internet safety tips for kids
- Teach your children online safety skills when using the Internet: Digital Identity (how to build and protect your child’s online identity and reputation), Digital Security (how to disclose personal information intelligently), Digital emotional intelligence (how to empathize and build good relationships with other people online), etc.
- Using an online content filtering tool: to filter and hide pornography, horrifying content (accident, ghost, violence, murder, terrorism, etc.), content about addictive substances, and Hate Speech on whatever browser your child uses. It is free. Many parent regard this as one of the best free parental control software.
3. Experience yourself with social media: Don’t be passive, instead, proactively update and learn the social platforms that are popular with young people. Experience yourself to have an objective view about social apps and the hidden risks. Don’t assume your child won’t visit sites like OnlyFans because of the risk of enticing them everywhere.
4. Communicate openly and regularly about the dangers of the Internet: It is extremely important that you foster an environment that encourages your child to be open about anything, even the most sensitive issues. If your child experiences something negative using a digital device, he or she needs to know that they can talk to you about the situation.
5. Respect your child’s privacy: Always supporting your children for online safety for children, but still giving your children a private space to be independent and autonomous with their behaviors. Don’t be too intrusive in their private life.
6. Wise modern parents are always proactive in bringing the best for their children. To better protect your child from all porn sites, for all internet-connected devices your child use, you should pre-order Wifi Device, becoming the first parents to own the solution which 24/7 protects your kids from harmful websites. Best prices are always available for early birds!
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