The Internet as we know it today is an amazing source of learning and fun for adults and kids alike. Preschoolers can play, learn, create and connect, all at the click of a button.
But the digital world can also be a volatile environment for a young child and therefore, it’s never too early to set boundaries.
With a recent study showing that 32% of children aged 3-4 use the Internet through a PC or laptop, it’s more important than ever to help the younger generation to develop a solid understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable in online spaces.
So, go ahead and follow these 5 easy tips for computers, phones and tablets, specially designed to help keep your child surfing safely.
1. Install parental controls:
To manage what content your child can see online and who they can interact with, install parental controls on your home broadband.
Set passwords on any Internet connected devices and don’t share them. This should also stop your kid from making purchases without permission while playing online games or using apps.
You can even create a user account for your preschooler on the family computer or other devices that only allows access to sites you have approved.
BONUS TIP: Try setting your homepage to a child-friendly website such as Disney.
2. Surf the web together safely:
Explain to your child what the Internet is, what it is used for, and how it can be used for fun, social and educational activities.
Keep all Internet connected devices in a communal area such as the living room as this will enable you to see how your kid is using the Internet.
3. Don’t ‘Overshare’:
Teach your kid not to give out private or personal information or converse with strangers online.
The suggested minimum age for most social media sites is 13, so be sure to carefully monitor the sites your kid can access.
Remind your preschooler to always say ‘no’ to anyone who asks for their address or any other contact information. Always make sure that your kid knows that they must tell you straight away if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable on the Internet.
4. Keep your searches safe:
Be aware of inappropriate sites and images that can appear in seemingly innocent search results.
Instead, use safe search engines such as Swiggle, a site designed for young kids.
Also be sure to activate any safe search settings on sites such as Google and YouTube to limit what your preschooler can see.
5. Watch the clock:
Perhaps most important of all is to limit how long your child can spend on the Internet.
Research suggests that it is best for your kid to take regular ‘screen breaks’ after 40 minutes of ‘screen time’ – whether that’s while using a computer, phone or tablet.
BONUS TIP: Why not create a contract for your kid to print off and keep next to the family computer? It can outline rules for spending time online to ensure they stick to the above safety tips.
What are some of your tips to keep kids safe online? Let us know in the comments below.
Did You Know?
Click here for more information on Internet safety for families.