Growing up on the Internet – Safety Tips for Children that Parents need to teach them

Dr. M. Vijayalakshmi, M.D (Peds), M.D (USA), F.A.A.P

Growing up on the Internet – Safety Tips for Children that Parents need to teach them

Internet usage is now very prevalent even among smaller children in India. There are certain things we can do as parents to make their internet experience safe while letting them make use of the vast amount of resources available for children on the internet.

Set clear limits or rules about the use of internet

As with any other media, set limits on Internet use. Be clear about your rules and expectations including how long they can use the Net . Emphasize that the guidelines you have set up will enable her to enjoy the Internet safely.

Use Software/Service that help to protect children

Make use of a good software that filters the sites and content and which can limit the timings for the use of Internet by children. Most of the security software like personal firewalls now have these features, please be sure to keep your subscription to them up-to-date.

Stranger-Danger –Those whom the child meets on the internet are strangers

Remind your child that people she meets on the Internet are strangers and all the rules about “stranger-danger’ applies.

Discuss with your child frequently about who they met on the internet

Make sure that your child talks to you directly about anyone she has met on the Internet who wants to meet her in person.

Discuss with your child about what she sees and does on the internet

Encourage your child to talk to you right away about anything on the Internet that makes him feel uncomfortable or even excited

No meeting without adult supervision

Establish a firm rule that your child may not go to meet someone he met on the Internet unless a parent or other responsible adult goes with him.

E-mailing personal information or disclosing personal information on chat should be done only with parental permission

Explain to your child that it is not safe to e-mail pictures of herself or any other personal information without first checking with you. Let her know that just as it is important that you know who her friends are and what she does with her friends, it is important that she talks with you before beginning an e-mail friendship with a new person.

Discuss frequently with your child about messages and conversations she receives through the internet

Encourage your child to talk to you about any messages that are mean or make him feel uncomfortable. Reassure your child that he is not to blame if he gets a message of that kind. Urge him to confide in you, reminding him that you are on his team.