With my expertise in children’s online safety, I think monitoring will work in some ways, like keeping track of how much time kids spend using apps. This is because kids can easily become addicted to the Internet. But parents should read their kids’ texts and phone calls or follow them around on social media. Here are some tips to help you protect your children on the Internet because you are invading their privacy:
The best way to protect them is to teach our youths about internet safety, and I don’t think it hurts to check on teenagers’ use of the internet from time to time and talk to them about anything that seems wrong. I think that if use does cause problems, the conversation should be about respect, safety, and the need to watch more closely.
As parents, it’s our job to show our kids how to make good decisions. I agree with Will Smith that we should give our kids as much freedom as they can handle. If our kids show they can’t handle the amount of freedom we give them in a responsible way, we take some of it away until they can. So, if they can’t handle privacy well, we should take away some of their privacy.
Now, it’s important not to spy on them if there aren’t any red flags. However, depending on their age, we need to make sure they aren’t being targeted by sexual predators or other online traps. So, in a way, this choice should show how mature each child is in terms of how they behave. If they suddenly change how they act, look at how they use their phones and the internet to see what is affecting them.
Also, it’s a good idea to talk to your child about the Internet and the fact that not everything they read online is true. Before puberty, your child has probably heard of sex but doesn’t really know what it is or why. I wouldn’t worry too much about porn because it won’t have much of an effect on your child. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, they won’t care as much.
Tell them that they should never agree to meet someone or talk to someone without first checking with you. Even if they have become friends with someone online, they should check with you before giving out any information. Don’t give your kids a credit card, and don’t give a credit card to a game they will play unless the game has an “adult verification” step. If they don’t understand money, you can’t expect them to say no to in-game purchases.
If you can warn them and get them to understand why you’re worried, you don’t have to keep an eye on them as much.
When your child hits puberty, you should talk to them again about how porn sites aren’t educational or like real life. Also, remind people that they can’t meet online friends in person, talk about sensitive personal information, or keep their social security numbers safe.
On the other hand, I know that there are millions of sites that shouldn’t be there. But I think parents shouldn’t mix up protecting and keeping an eye on their kids. I think that talking and using technology are the best ways to keep people safe.
-Talking to kids often about how dangerous the Internet can be helps them understand it better, make better decisions, and actively stay away from it (for example, if they see a pornographic ad, they can click the “X” to close the website).
Using technology: There are many types of parental control software you can use to keep your kids safe. Like Chrome’s SafeSearch (which filters out explicit search results), Mac’s Screen Time, or CyberPurify. It can filter and blur every image and video on a child’s website that has anything to do with porn, violence, accidents, etc.
Last thing don’t forget to make these talks friendly so your kids can come to you whenever they find something on the Internet that worries them.
Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton Canada.