Allowing your children to have access to the Internet is useful for a wide variety of activities including doing homework, reading, talking to their friends, and playing games. It is up to you as a parent to determine the specific rules in your home when it comes to your child’s Internet use, but having rules and boundaries for accessing the Internet, especially via WiFi is important. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll always be able to monitor everything your child does on the Internet, which makes having clear rules in place that much more important.
Change Your WiFi Password Regularly
Your home WiFi is likely where your child is going to use the internet the most. It’s easy to use the default WiFi password that comes with your router, but changing your password regularly (even daily) allows you to have more control over when your child has access to the Internet. Each router has specific step by step instructions to set up a WiFi password. This How to Geek article gives a good set of guidelines on how to set your WiFi name and password. You may choose to allow your children to have access to the daily password when they’ve done all their chores and homework, or you may simply keep it from them until a certain time of day.
Know The Devices Your Child is Using
Knowing how your child is accessing the Internet is just as important as monitoring what they’re accessing online. Computers, tablets, Smart TVs, cell phones, iPods, eReaders and video game consoles are some of the most common devices your kids are likely to have access to. Even if you don’t use your child’s console, you want to know what devices your kids are using and understand what their capabilities are for going online. Can your kids eReader only download books or does it have an enabled browser feature? Many children-centric tablets have parental control options and browser monitoring. You can also block websites on your home computer or use browser apps like Safe Browser to safeguard and monitor your children’s online activities.
Set a time limit on how long your child is allowed to be online each day. You could make this flexible, a movie night or Netflix binge on a rainy day, but overall, it’s important to keep your child’s online time balanced. Allowing your child to spend time online limitlessly gives them more time and opportunity to access inappropriate content. If need be, sit with your child or be in the room with them when they’re spending time online to monitor their activities. If your child has a cell phone, you should be in control of what apps are being used. This can be challenging as a child can easily sign up for a social media account with fake information, but it is an important aspect of using the internet safely.
Importance of Safety and Cyberbullying
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You may not think of bullying every time your reset your WiFi password, but cyber bullying is a real threat to your child’s wellbeing. DoSomething.org reports that almost 43% of kids have experienced cyberbullying and that up to 70% of school-age kids have witnessed their friends being bullied online. If your child’s behavior becomes unusual, their grades are slipping or they’re being unusually unkind towards others, talk to them about their behavior. Even if it’s difficult to get your child to talk, it is important to get to the root of their problem.
Overall, you decide how much time your child can spend online and how they can access the Internet when they are with you. Setting up clear boundaries and teaching your kids about online safety, and having a good balance of things to do online and offline will help set your kid up for a healthy relationship with the Internet.
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