It’s really hard to believe that it’s already been 12 months since the start of the global pandemic, today we find ourselves spending more time online than ever before. Especially our children since schools across the world have gone remote. More than 1.5 billion students and youth across the planet are or have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are very fortunate to live in a time when digital tools allows us to keep sustaining some children’s rights to education through online access despite an ongoing global pandemic, unfortunately this tools also increases the online threat to children such has:
As children continue to study at home, and spend a lot more time online, it will be increasingly more difficult for parents to spend every minute monitoring their children’s online activities. We need to remember that children working online from home are not usually protected by the filters provided at school to block harmful content. Therefore, it’s even more important for parents to secure their children’s online access and develop good online safety habits.
Here are some tips for parents to protect their kids online:
- Educate yourself first: Explore reliable resources for parents, so you can educate yourself and protect your children. Here are some starting points
- Online safety leaflets & Resources
- National Education
- Oasis Community Learning
- Common Sense
- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- Build good online habits and lead by example: It’s important to teach by example. Why not start monitoring your own online usage and compare it to your kids for example.
- Stay involved in their digital world: The thing about technology is that it’s always evolving, and it can sometimes be hard to keep up with what’s current, and since kids are faster at adapting, why not use your kids to show you what’s the new app that everyone is using or talking about at school, and you can even ask them to show you how it works so that you can have a better understanding.
- Keep The Conversation With Your Kids Open And Fun: It’s important to encourage children to have open communication with you and not to be afraid to come to their parents whenever they experience any issue online, no matter how trivial or terrible it may seem to them.
- Understand the privacy and security settings: Many websites and social media platforms have specific settings for minors, and they also give parents control over what the kids can share, who they share it with, what they can see, and who can contact them etc…
- Enable Safe Search: Several tools like are available, such as parental controls and safe search from search engines like google that ensure that your online experience always remains positive.
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6. Strive for everyday balance: The most important thing is to encourage/insist that children have to balance their screen time and offline time, because too much screen time can be the cause of different health issues from overusing technology (eyesight, posture, hearing, and so on.).
We can’t deny that technology has improved our lives in many ways and keeping our children from being online is not always an option. The key message to remember is that even though we can’t control everything our children do online it’s important to increase awareness and talk about online safety from a very young age because no matter what rules you have at home remember that the moment they leave the house they are exposed and influenced by their outside interactions and the goal here is we don’t want their exposure to technology to ever compromise our children’s mental wellbeing or safety.
- Internet Safety (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth. (2021). Retrieved 13 February 2021, from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/net-safety.html
- Vota, W. (2021). 5 Ways to Protect Children Online During COVID-19 Digital Response. Retrieved 13 February 2021, from https://www.ictworks.org/protect-children-online-covid-19-digital-response/#.YCexuWgzZPY