Ever since its inception in 1983, many people around the world have come to accept that the internet has both its advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, the internet’s potential to negatively impact a child’s mental and physical health and safety remains a global concern. Here are some internet safety tips that every parent or guardian should know.
Control when and how your child/ward can access their devices
Set house rules which determine the hours that your child/ward will have access to their personal devices. When the cut-off time has been reached, ensure that their personal devices are placed in an area away from their bedrooms (such as the living room or kitchen).
If your child/ward does not have any personal devices and uses a family computer, ensure that the screen of the device remains visible from any common area around the house.
Monitor and communicate
Take full advantage of your parental controls. Parental controls can allow you to control the hours by which your children can access certain apps. It can also allow you to block websites that contain inappropriate content. Monitoring must come hand-in-hand with open and honest communication. As a result, communicate what type of content is appropriate for online posting.
Stress the importance of identity protection
Remind your child/ward to not share their personal information online like their age, school, address, phone number, last name, or anything personally identifiable. Talk to your child/ward about the reality of online predators and ensure that they do not post photos or videos that reveal locations that they frequently visit, such as their school and home.
If you are struggling with parenting and want to seek support, you can contact any of the following:
- Families in Action: 628-2333
- Trinidad and Tobago Innovative Parenting Support: email@example.com or 662-8264 / 753-4788
- Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Parenting Unit: 623-2608 ext. 6704 or 717-0416
If you believe that your child may be experiencing psychosocial issues, contact any of the following for support:
- ChildLine: 800-4321