Most parents were raised with far less technology than what’s available today. They’re mind-boggled by the latest gadgets and the fact that they and their kids have the world at their fingertips.
But as Voltaire said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Kids today have access to more information most parents could ever have imagined. But there’s a flipside to it. Kids are exposed to content that is not age-appropriate if parents aren’t vigilant.
Parents don’t only have to worry about their children’s physical safety anymore, they also need to worry about their safety in the digital world.
- Know who interacts with your child
The stories of child grooming by pedophiles are horrifying. Adults pretending to be kids lure children into meetings where they may be sexually assaulted, abducted, or killed.
Parents of younger children should know who their online contacts are. They should teach their children that not everyone online is who they say they are. Kids should know how to exercise caution and not reveal where they live and their contact details.
- Make the network safe
A lot of teenagers fall into the trap of connected to public wi-fi networks at places like coffee shops and libraries. Doing this exposes them to the risk of having their phone hacked and their information accessed. Even a secure home network isn’t completely protected.
The best solution to this problem is to have a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN adds an extra layer of security to online activities as it encrypts them, making them harder to hack. There are several VPN options to explore. The NordVPN review shows it to be one of the most popular.
- Age-appropriate interaction with technology
A lot of the content in the digital world is not meant for little eyes. However, if parents are not careful, that’s exactly what their kids will see.
Here are some tips to keep what kids are accessing age appropriate:
- Check the setting options
Most devices have several settings that protect children from seeing the wrong content. Parents can limit what the child can search for online by preventing access to explicit content. Parents can prohibit the downloading of apps and games so that the child must ask permission to get them.
Parents can block access to the internet from certain devices so that children are forced to use the family computer to look for information. In recent years, great strides have been made to protect children. Parents should keep themselves informed and make use of the available tools.
- Avoid overuse of digital devices
Children should not be spending hours of their time online. It stifles their imaginations and keeps them sedentary. They should be getting outdoors and playing. Parents can set limits on how much screen time children have per day. They can also set a ‘down time’ on their children’s devices so that they can’t access them during certain hours of the day.
While access to technology is important, it is only a part of living a balanced life. Parents should make sure that devices and the technology they offer do not consume their children’s lives.
- Age restrictions
Games and apps have age restrictions and parents should not ignore them. They are in place for a reason. Overexposure to inappropriate content such as violence can be psychologically distressing for a child. A child’s brain is still developing and it’s hard for them to distinguish between reality and what they see onscreen.
Certain social media platforms require users to be of a certain age. However, unsupervised, it’s easy to get around them. Parents need to keep an eye of what their children are doing online.