Here at DRS International School, we share your concern for your child’s safety- both online and offline. The Internet is an extension of the real world, and the dangers its presents are as real as the ones in the physical world. So in a technology enabled world where our kids are often more tech-savvy than us, how do we keep our kids safe online? Read on for our top six tips to keep your child safe online.
- Keep the lines of communication open
Trust is key when it comes to cyber safety and its only possible when there is open and transparent communication between parents and children. If you listen to your child without judgement, he or she is more likely to open up to you about his or her life online. Ask open-ended questions wherever possible and share tidbits from your online activities as well to keep the conversation going. It is important to stay connected to your child on any social media platforms he or she uses including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc as well instant messaging services such as Whatsapp and IMO.
- Educate yourself first
Would you let your child physically go to a place you haven’t visited yourself? The same goes for the online world. If you want to keep your child safe online, its imperative to keep up to date with the latest apps, platforms and internet trends even if they don’t personally interest you much. This can also help strengthen the bond between you and your kid as you will have more in common to talk about. Children learn how to use ICT early on in the IB PYP, Cambridge Curriculum and CBSE, so it becomes important to keep pace with them.
- Establish essential agreements
It is important to decide on and agree to some common ground rules for browsing along with your kids and what these rules are will depend on your parenting styles. While some parents may want their child to share all their passwords until they reach a certain age in exchange for the wifi password, other parents may opt for a more independent approach. Some parents may want to clearly list out restricted sites, while others may want their kids to only browse while accompanied or monitored by an adult. You can also ask your child to suggest some rules and then draw up a mutual contract. You can check out websites like safekids.com for examples. It is a good idea to print out these rules and display them near the home PC or any ‘gadget hotspot’.
- Keep regular tabs
It’s a good idea to check in on the list of downloaded apps, your child’s friend’s list, browsing history and activity on social media in general. As ‘snooping’ may create trust issues, it is better to let your child know that this is something he or she can expect you to do as long as he or she is a minor. Your ISP, browsers, firewalls and search engines also offer many parental control options and settings you can make the most of.
- Teach netiquette
One golden rule for internet safety is ‘never do anything online that you wouldn’t do offline‘. The values we teach children apply online as well. Teach your child early on it is important to not to talk to strangers online, just as you wouldn’t offline. Sharing passwords, sending or receiving images, opening attachments etc to and from strangers is a definite NO. Explain to your child that nothing ever gets deleted online and that it is important to never post or share anything online they wouldn’t be comfortable with you seeing.
- Partner with the School
At DRS International School, we believe that keeping your child safe online is important in school as well and we have several measures in place to ensure that. As an international school, DRS International School’s Student Wellness Program also focuses on cyber safety. If you have any concerns about your child’s online safety, you can always contact us or get in touch with your child’s Homeroom Facilitators, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more parenting tips.