Online safety for kids

Sep, 12 2022

The internet world is a very scary place to be, especially if you haven’t had anyone to ask you to be safe and careful. Media is a systematic and complicated flow of information in various forms, like audio and visual. That is however sometimes formulated without keeping in mind certain important things. One of these things is the fact that all age groups consume media, a lot of times without having anyone to supervise them. Thus, in these terms, it can be very harmful to exist on its own. Thus, in such cases, parents and guardians need to be careful enough while around kids and teens.

If a certain kind of information triggers something in a child, it can be very difficult for the child to process that, especially because of their tender age and amateur minds.

A few things you can do as a parent or a guardian to ensure that your kid, when allowed to use the internet, doesn’t stray off and stays safe, are as follows:

  • make sure you go through the ‘privacy statement policies’ in apps and platforms that you use on your phones, smart TVs, laptops or any other devices.
  • If you use OTT platforms for your entertainment and other needs, it will be seen by your kids, which will encourage them to use those too. So, in such cases, what you as a guardian can do is make sure that they are engaging in media that is age-appropriate for them
    [For eg, in Netflix and Prime Video, a Kids profile can be used that will only play TV shows and movies carefully selected for kids. All kid profiles have the icon that says “kids”, so that can be easily identifiable.]
  • Also, be careful and not sternly deny your kids for consumption of the internet or other media, being very conscious and calm while doing it so that they don’t feel like engaging with it and watching/reading something just because they’ve been denied to.
  • When watching a film/series together as a family, the parent/guardian can go on the internet and make sure there aren’t any triggers in the pieces. If there are, then avoid watching them with the kids.
    [Again, Netflix, music etc are OTT platforms that show the trigger warnings on the top left corner of the screens when the show/movie begins.]
  • Even when kids are allowed to use social media platforms, they must be warned to only engage with their friends and no one else, no strangers. They must be explained that they mustn’t reveal their and your details out in the open, on social media.
  • Parents can use the ‘parental controls’ feature on apps, on their devices. By doing so, they can filter the websites their children can surf, can set time limits for using the internet, and a lot of other things. But it is also essential to be careful that your children don’t feel like you don’t trust them at all and are setting up surveillance systems on them.
  • To explain then what their agency is and how one is supposed to be careful and safe about it.
  • To encourage them to spend time out in the sun, to engage in physical activities with them, so that they don’t feel like online is the only place to be when bored or in need of entertainment.

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