Stories to Grow By
April 2023 Special Edition
In this edition: we share a word from our partners about internet safety
The Internet - A Great Tool For Children?
The internet is a great tool for communication, education and entertainment. But it can be dangerous. And some of the most dangerous issues around can have a major impact on your children. So, here are some tips so you don't let the web raise your children as they develop.
Teach Values from an Early Age
For the most part, a healthy and well-raised child begins at home. Socialising your kids properly so that they learn wholesome values is a responsibility as a parent. Of course, public and private school educational programs also help with your child's development. And afterschool activities such as extra classes, clubs and religious classes like Sunday School offer excellent foundations for helping with your child's development before, during and after adolescence.
Limit Their Screen Time
It's hard not to expose your children to screen time these days. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and even the good old TV are core parts of most modern homes. But too much screen time can be bad for your kids. Under 2-year-olds shouldn't have any screen time at all. And 1 hour per day is enough for 2 to 5-year-olds. While 5 to 17-year-olds should have no more than 2 hours per day. Of course, you can allow some extra if they are using the web for homework.
Don't Let the Web Raise Your Children on Social Media
Social media is controversial for many reasons. Yet it is good for things like distanced learning and keeping up with peers. However, there is an ability to influence young (and old) minds. Some of the issues around social media and children include comparing themselves to others, cyberbullying and becoming the victim of an online predator. There are some steps you can take. These include privacy settings, location services, and teaching the kids online safety.
Talk to Your Kids About Online Safety
Further to online safety, this deserves a section of its own. Discussing this with your children is absolutely vital. You can't be looking over their shoulder 24/7, so they need to know what is appropriate. If your kids use social media, you can talk to them about what they should and shouldn't do. This includes giving out private information like their real name and address. But also alert you when anyone asks for intimate pictures or sends inappropriate messages.
Monitor Their Internet Usage
If you are worried about your children's screen time, you can monitor what they get up to. Of course, this doesn't mean Big Brother-style observation. But you can use web safety tools that can set screen time timers, alert you when they access something inappropriate, or even monitor message content. The best tools aren't free. But they are worth the money. These include Qustodio, Bark, and Net Nanny. Most offer subscriptions for a low monthly payment.
Don't let the web raise your children. There are many dangers of using the web these days. But you can teach your kids your own values, teach about social media, and monitor their web use.