The internet is a very power and useful tool, however as parents we need to unsure our children are finding age-appropriate content. There are many dangers on the internet and its content can become addictive. By now you’ve used the internet yourself long enough to observe that online games, social media platforms, and even news websites are designed to be eye-catching, appealing to our desire for instant gratification, and highly addictive. In addition to the dangers of addiction, using the internet comes with additional risks, such as extortion and identity theft.
When children start using devices, appropriate filters and supervision are key practices that can protect them from dangers on the web. Many age-appropriate games and videos might also have inappropriate ads. It is best to review this content periodically and monitor your child’s use. It’s also important to talk to your children about sharing personal information on the internet, such as where they live or go to school. If your children are older and using devices more independently, it’s important to talk with them about the risks of online theft and predators. Share with your children the importance of protecting their personal information and the dangers of talking to strangers online.
Although many children desire independence, it is best to have children use common devices in common areas so that the whole family can enjoy the content. Private devices in bedrooms should be avoided. If your child is already using a device without filters or parental controls and you’re looking for ways to better protect them, know that you’re not alone. Now is a great time to learn more about internet filters and parental controls to keep your family safe.
If you’ve found your child in a dangerous situation using the internet, have a conversation with your child about your concerns, what information they’ve shared, and explain to them the danger of the situation. You may need to remove their access to the internet until you have found a safe solution to the situation. If this is the case, be sure to talk with your child about why you came to that decision. Don’t hesitate to contact the proper authorities if necessary. To learn more about handling specific situations, see the resources below.
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