These days, kids have a lot of free time which they often spend on the internet. In recent years, many cases of online sexual predators involving children have surfaced making online safety for kids a top priority. Children are exposed to harmful and illicit content available online. If you have teenaged kids, you may often find your child spending hours on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, MySpace and Ask.fm, among others. Let me ask you one thing: as a parent, do you have an idea what your son/daughter is doing online? Do you know who they are talking to? Or quite possibly, do THEY know who they’re interacting with?
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Research has shown that more than 70 percent children, between the age of 13 and 17, have received messages from strangers. Chances are, most of them replied out of curiosity or innocence. With most parents having no rules in place for their children spending countless hours on the internet, the unfavourable odds of your kid running into a child predator can be quite real.
As a parent, I’m sure you’re highly worried. But if, in your anxiety, you go a little overboard and get stricter, you may end up leaving more at stake. It’s important to maintain the friendly rapport with your kids if you want to occupy a comfortable space in their lives.
Taking proper precaution for your child’s safety is important. You child must know that they are exposed to dangers and hence, they must be careful about everything and everyone they interact with. However, don’t be a nag reminding your child about being mindful of these things; instead, approach your child when he or she is more likely to open up with you and talk it out. This way, you’ll be able to successfully convince them about being careful. Apart from warning your child about the potential risks involved in the bargain, you must also be a part of the scenario actively. Here are some tips to be actively involved in your child’s social life to make sure they are safe on the internet.
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Be a good role model:
If your children see you spending the whole day on your smartphone or laptop, they will do the same, thinking it is okay to behave this way. So take a moment to reflect upon your lifestyle. Keeping a check on your children will become easier for you, if you don’t set bad examples for them.
“Friend” your child:
Create a profile for yourself and “friend” your children on all the social media platforms that they use. They may insist that you don’t embarrass them by posting comments on their page that their friends can see, but that’s alright. Atleast you’ll get a window into their world.
Do not gift them gadgets:
Gifting your teens a smartphone or a tablet/iPad etc, will do no good to them. Keep a common desktop in an open place in the house, like the living room, where you can easily monitor your kid’s activities.
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Last but not the least, if your child wants to have their own email account or social media account, make sure you have their passwords. Also keep a tab on the internet search history if you suspect anything unsafe or nasty. Parents need to be a little more vigilant in what their children are seeing/doing online in order to help and protect them. You must realize that it is part of your duty to be in the first line of defence for your children.