Following our child safety theme for this month, let’s talk about cyber safety for a minute. As adults, we know the consequences of handing out personal information, but there’s a little more to consider when you allow your little ones screen time. It only takes a few clicks to be in places they shouldn’t be or share things that could put them at risk.
Here are 5 things to consider if you allow your children to have access to the computer:
- Have the computer in a community area of the house so that they are held accountable and you can monitor what is popping up on the screen. Even the most innocent child could find themselves accidentally on a site they shouldn’t be.
- Set rules and consequences and make sure your children know exactly what is expected in terms of acceptable uses for the computer. Decide ahead of time if and when you will allow Skype or email to be used so that your children know exactly what you’re comfortable with them doing.
- Keep a bookmark folder just for them so there’s no confusion what those acceptable uses are.
- Explain why you don’t give out personal information and explain that sharing information, including filling out forms with your address and phone number, is NOT acceptable without permission. When playing online games, give them a pseudo name to use instead of their real name to reinforce that no personal information is given out.
- Talk about cyberbullying. It’s not just on the playground anymore, and knowing what it is and how to respond to it could help your children stop it before it becomes an issue down the road. Be a “safe person” that your children can come to if they witness or experience any form of cyberbullying.
That said, if you’ve made it through these 5 steps and still allow your children screen time, here are some great sites below that encourage learning for various ages! The world wide web can be an amazing source of knowledge and great tool for skill building. In addition to November being National Child Safety month, November 8th is National Parents as Teachers day, so I encourage you to take a moment tonight after dinner and teach your children something new today!