Kids Online? 5 Tips You Should Know

With the increase and innovations in technology that make it such a big part of family life nowadays, it can be hard knowing what exactly your child is doing online. Here are 5 tips about kids online that you need to know as a parent:

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#1. Kids Can Befriend People Online

It’s very easy for children to befriend people online. Especially people pretending to be another child. Some kids think it’s a goal to have as many “friends” and followers as they can get on different apps and websites, that that gives them status somehow. But do they know the people they have befriended?

This video from MobileMinder brings home the message:

What you can do

  • Emphasise to your kids that “if you don’t know them in person, don’t know them online”.
  • Ask them to check with you before they accept a friend request on any apps or websites.
  • Check in with them regularly on who they have befriended.
  • Set up Parental ControlsMobile MinderMobileMinder lets parents set up controls on up to 5 devices, which will allow you to block unsuitable apps, see where your child is 24/7, view their photo gallery, web history and app usage, and lots more too. Enter code mykidstime after your trial to get 20% off any year or family plan.

#2. Help Them Manage Their Screen Time

When we were young, our parents’ main concern was ensuring that we didn’t watch too much television. Now, however, parents not only have to contend with television and the many dedicated 24 hour children’s channels, but a multitude of technological devices including smartphones, ipods, tablets, laptops, PCs and e-readers.

What you can do

#3. Kids are Adept at Technology

We took weeks to master computer technology, now toddlers are comfortable with iPads and smartphones. Our children are growing up with technology and they are adept at it.

This can be a bonus when parents themselves need help with technology but we need to be aware of the fact that children don’t find technology as scary as we do.

girls laptop

What you can do

  • You should explore all the different software and apps that your children use. Set up accounts on different social media and websites if you haven’t already and see what it’s all about for yourself.
  • Check out our Instagram and Snapchat guides and 11 apps and sites to be aware of.
  • Ask them to show you if you feel you don’t have the skills yourself.
  • Talk to them and keep an open dialogue about how we use technology.

#4. Feeling Uncomfortable

If your child sees something that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared they may not tell you because they are worried about what they saw or read, or may be worried that you take away their online time.

What you can do

  • Encourage them to tell you straight away and reassure them that they won’t lose online time but that you need to know if something scared them or made them feel uncomfortable.
  • You can use monitoring software such as MobileMinder for Android devices to keep an eye on what they are accessing but at the end of the day it’s important to be able to trust your child too and to know that they will come to you if upset or worried.
  • Make sure you get your PC/laptop checked regularly too, in case unwanted things have been downloaded. If you think your PC or laptop is slower than usual there are many companies that can help you with optimising and clean up.

#5. Sharing Things

Kids like to share things with other kids especially ones they are trying to impress. Photos, information, personal data can all be shared inadvertently and without thought by children.

dreamtime-girl tablet

What you can do

    • Talk to them about the fact that things shared online will always be there. Even Snapchat (which appeals to young people because they think photos don’t last) photos don’t disappear completely and can be snapped off the screen and then sent around networks of “friends”.
    • Talk to them about the importance of never divulging personal data. Some websites require dates of birth to set up an account. Change the day of month at least so that you aren’t handing over your date of birth all the time which is a key piece of information.
    • Emphasise in particular that passwords should never be shared. True story: My daughter shared her iPod Touch pin with her “best friend” who changed it with the result that the iPod was locked and we had to reset everything with inevitable losses despite back ups.
    • Download our free Fridge Checklist: 10 Tips for Practical Internet Safety

Over to you! Have you further tips about kids online? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls