School Children Safety Online

April 09, 2020, Kathmandu, Nepal

Most of you reading this article come from a generation where you didn’t have the privilege of the internet as a kid. Now, you probably are much aware of the pros and cons of the internet. But, have you thought of passing the knowledge to your kids early on?

No? Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, studies suggest that less than half of parents and guardians talk to their kids about online safety.

Usually, parents make sure to keep their children away from harm’s way. And in doing so, we almost forget the harms of the current generation.

And here’s the thing! There’s no point in skipping the ‘talk’ about cyber safety with your kids. So, better do it now. Trust us, there’s a lot of dark side of using the internet which is about using it responsibly.

Your kids will find it either way – by accident or on purpose. Not talking about it doesn’t make the danger go away. That’s why we suggest you talk to your kids about online safety.

Highlights of Cyber Risks to Children

You may think your children are safer indoors but think again. The online world offers you so many opportunities. From learning new things to socially connecting with people, it offers you all the joy of the world.

At the same time, children may face many risks if left unguided and uninformed. There are risks of exploitation, abuse, cyberbullying, and violence.

Recent studies in the USA suggest that 40% of children chat with strangers online. Some of these strangers may not be who they claim to be. If your kids share personal information, photos or data with them, they could leak them online, available for the rest of the world.

And, we have just scratched the surface of online risks for kids. The kids of this generation are mostly on their mobile phones, tablets, and PC. Imagine them finding age-inappropriate content and contacts that are just about everywhere online today.

In a way, you will be doing yourself and them a favor by informing them of cyber risks first hand. It is very crucial to use the internet responsibly to prevent any risks from coming forward.

UNICEF Nepal has also released a report to highlight such online risks for kids and how to minimize them. Check out the online safety resources by UNICEF Nepal. It could help you get started with having the ‘talk’ with your children.

The Do’s and Don’ts for Parents and Guardians

Sometimes, there is a thin line between protecting your kids and violating their privacy. It is important to introduce your kids to cyber safety. In fact, it should be a crucial part of your parenting toolkit.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for parents to keep their kids safe online.

The Do’s

  • Talk openly with your kids about their online activity. Make them aware of the harms and abuses in the online world and share information to use online content safety. Make sure you do it before any incidents occur.
  • Keep screens and devices where you can see them. You need to monitor your child’s online activity and time, particularly for younger children. Never let them download or upload any content online without your supervision. You can use parental locks on most applications as well.
  • Be supportive of your child when they come to you with an online issue they may be facing. If you lack the skills or knowledge to face it, don’t hesitate to seek help. After all, you will also get a chance to learn and tackle any similar issues in the future.
  • Learn about the social tools and platforms your children are using. Make sure to know who their ‘online friends’ really are.
  • Spend quality time with your kids to teach them the appropriate way of using the internet. Appropriate online behavior and positive learning can keep the risks at bay.
  • Lead by example. Parents are the first role model of a child. Make sure that if they follow in your footsteps, it better be for good online behavior too. If it means limiting your own screen time, do it!

The Don’ts

  • Technology shouldn’t replace the old-fashioned care and company from parents. Don’t let your kids use laptops, mobile phones, and tablets excessively.
  • Don’t lose patience or get angry when your child shares his or her issues online. Make sure to understand the situation and provide counseling instead of blaming them.
  • Don’t completely block your kids from internet usage. The internet world may be risky but it also provides learning opportunities for kids.
  • Don’t violate your child’s privacy by hacking into their social media accounts to access their online activities. There is an appropriate way of monitoring their online activities, which is keeping your kids under supervision. Pretty sure hacking is not the best thing to do.
  • Don’t post compromising media files of your child online. You might think your kid looks super cute on the picture. Just a reminder, there are pedophiles out there lurking online for content like those.
  • Don’t post abusive content or hate comments on the internet. Your children may find the content and it’s not a good scenario of leading by example.
  • Don’t mention your whereabouts or your plan details. It might compromise the safety of your kids and family.

Final Say

It sure is a scary world out there. But think about all the goods the internet has brought upon.

Teaching positive aspects of the internet to your kids is healthy. But, teaching and making them aware of the negative aspects is your responsibility.

Make sure to seek help if things go out of hands. You will always be the superhero your kids need. But, it doesn’t mean you can fight the internet evils on your own.


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