The internet is a big place. And when we say big, we don’t mean just backyard big. The internet is literally linking everyone on the globe. As one of the reasons for the hasty and speedy globalization, the internet is what allows kids to communicate, learn, and even find their own information on the internet. Back then, being a technically competent was a skill. Now, being technically competent has become a norm where even kids as young as five know how to use a tablet.
But like everything else, there are some risks to using the internet recklessly. Children can find themselves on the wrong side of the web or also commonly known as the dark web. The dark web can influence children to do terrible things like the Blue Whale Challenge.
So how do you protect your children from these things? Here are some tips on how to protect and help your children go through the internet.
Restrain your judgement
As humans, it’s our first instinct to judge something whether we like it or not. But as much as possible, try to restrain it. Because kids can sometimes explore and look at something simply because they’re curious. Their curiosity leads them to look for things up in the net because they feel their question may be bothersome.
Exploding or freaking out will not help. In fact, it may teach your child on how to lie about their internet activity. Nowadays, that’s easy to hide. A child can run on Google on incognito to hide their tracks. Or if caught in the act, the common remedy is the alt+tab combination on the keyboard. By pressing alt+tab, kids can easily swap windows into something that the parent would approve.
So try as much as possible not to judge them even if the topic by your standards is weird. Instead, try to ask them and learn from them as to what made them look for the topic. For all you know, that’s all they wanted: a proper answer. And at the same time, you can help explain things better to them when they need it.
Do not dig into their personal files without their consent.
A lot of parents would reason saying it’s for safety reasons. But if you think about it, children learn how to hide things because of conditioning. Conditioning occurs for example when a child presents a situation to you and you react. The reaction if angry and explosive will cause the child to either hide the issue in order to learn more about it or just not do it. At the same time, digging through their personal files without their consent is now the new “snooping in the room”.
Recall also when you didn’t want your parents snooping around your things. You weren’t very fond of it either. So, why do it to your own children? Instead if you feel there’s something wrong, ask them. Ask, “is everything okay? Do you want to talk about something?” In turn, it conditions the child to be more open with you and you won’t have to waste so much effort trying to figure out passwords, opening the computer, and even figuring which folder contains what.
Be patient in answering their questions
Although this is easier said than done, it will do a lot of good in the long run. By being patient, you show your child that you’re genuinely interested in answering their questions. If you’re trying to minimize their use with the computer, being patient with them and answering their questions will also encourage their socio-cognitive development.
Always keep an open mind.
Having an open mind helps you keep up with your kids. It also helps you learn more about things and there’s no age where you should stop learning. While learning from your kids can feel a little weird at times, it’s still a learning experience for both you and your children.