Internet Safety in the Era of COVID-19
As children have turned to digital tools for school and socialization, online safety matters now more than ever. Here are 4 tips for keeping kids safe online:
Keep the Ground Rules
Even though online habits have changed significantly, you can still set boundaries that work for your family. Often involving children in setting these rules may help them stick to them. Things you could consider:
- Remote learning tasks before social media or gaming
- No devices during meals
- A “digital curfew”: no devices after a certain hour
Monitor Internet Use
Kids may be interacting online younger than you might have planned. The best tools for keeping kids safe are time, attention, and staying informed about their digital use. You could consider:
- Setting up workstations for students in public household areas
- Choose apps with care and use privacy settings to help kids stay safe and feel secure
- Monitor online interactions
Much of our children’s social lives are being conducted online these days, so it is important to have face-to-face conversations with them about digital use. Consider:
- Showing that you are willing to listen and respond calmly, even if what you hear is uncomfortable or troubling. Let them know they can always come to you when something upsets them.
- Be on the lookout for warning signs of emotional issues (including friendship drama, changes in behavior, and acting out)
- Regularly check-in with your child as to what he/she is spending their time doing online
- Discuss what they should do if they encounter negative things online.
Limit Tech Rather than Remove
If you must, consider limiting internet access rather than removing it entirely. Taking away access will affect your child’s ability to complete remote learning tasks. It also isolates them from friends and family who are part of their essential support system right now. Alternatives may be restricting time spent on digital socializing and gaming.
ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE FROM COMMON SENSE MEDIA BY CAROLINE KNORR. FULL TEXT CAN BE FOUND AT:
ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN. FOR MORE RESOURCES VISIT: MissingKids.org/NetSmartz