Maximizing the benefits of the internet for your children
The list of benefits which the internet offers our children on a daily basis is endless. It can be a great resource for homework, watching their favorite television program, or playing games – but the internet is not always a safe place. The key thing is knowing how to manage this powerful resource so that our children only know about its benefits until they are old enough to learn about managing their online presence themselves.
Is there an internet appropriate age?
It can be difficult to know how old your child should be before you are comfortable letting them use the internet unsupervised. This is a personal decision which should reflect the relationship that you have with them. There is no one better placed to know whether their child is mature enough to understand the risks involved in using the internet than their parent or guardian. As a rough guideline, a Microsoft study has estimated that eight years old is the minimum age that children should be before going online by themselves.
Keep the adult content for the adults
There is a world of difference between the sites which adults should use and those which children use. While it’s perfectly acceptable and enjoyable to spend your Friday night enjoying some quality time in the VIP club of some online casinos, you wouldn’t want your children to accidentally get on there! Furthermore, there is a wealth of adult content on the internet which should be blocked from young (and impressionable) eyes.
What protection can be put into place?
Thankfully there is a wealth of help and programs to help adults keep children safe while online. The first step would be to install filters on all of the computers at home, not forgetting mobile phones and tablets, which the children have access to. These act as the first line of defense, blocking out any immediately hazardous content for children such as pornographic websites. There are lots of websites offering support for parents and guardians, such as the NSPCC, comment pieces, and government advice.
Educate yourself as well as your children
It would be worth spending some time to educate yourself about the developments in popular websites and programs to assist your child in navigating the web should they need it. The key thing is to remember that this is the beginning of a life-long relationship with the internet. As it changes and develops, so will your understanding of it and appreciation for the benefits that it offers both you and your family. Once you understand the risks you will be much better equipped to deal with any potential problems, should they arise.