After discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the internet with your children, the next thing should be to set some clear but reasonable boundaries. These boundaries will depend on how old the child is, how mature he or she is and whether or not they are always willing to talk to you about anything no matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable.
When your child feels free to discuss their personal issues with you, you can trust them to report any kind of bullying to you as soon as it happens. Learn how to protect your child online Now!
Discussed below are some guidelines about setting boundaries to protect your child online that are not only useful for teens and pre-teens but for each and every internet user out there:
- It is extremely dangerous to give out personal and private information to a stranger you met online or offline. Examples of personal information include names, home addresses, school and job addresses, photos, cell phone or landline numbers, email addresses and so on. Discussing this with your teen or pre-teen will go a long way in making them understand why you are setting such boundaries.
- To protect your child online, Children should be encouraged to avoid responding to solicitations and comments that make them uncomfortable and uneasy.
- Whether your children are already aware of it or not, keep reminding them to never under any circumstances make any arrangements to meet a stranger they met online. For adults who feel the need to meet someone they met online, the meeting should take place in a very public place and they should be accompanied by a trusted person.
- Advise your children not to believe any information they read on profiles or get through messages and chats. Most bullies hide behind fake profiles.
- To protect your child online, Tell your children to never give out personal financial information like credit card information to any online site that is unsecured.
To come up with the proper boundaries, below are some things to consider on how to protect your child online:
- How much time is safe for your child to spend roaming the internet? Other things to consider include the right time and under which circumstances should they be allowed to use the internet.
- What are the safe sites for your children?
- What content is safe or unsafe for your children?
- Which kind of internet communication is better than the rest, is it chats, instant messaging or emailing?
- Are there any privacy rights for children and what are they?
- Are your children aware of the proper steps to take should they come across something that makes them uncomfortable or uneasy on the internet?
- Are there any internet rules and what are the right steps to take should the rules be broken?
Even after setting guidelines and boundaries for internet use, it is still wise to conduct regular checks on the internet activity of your teens or pre-teens. This is because in spite of all the boundaries you may set for them, children may still find themselves involved in internet trouble.
The good news is that there are signs that can give away a teen or pre-teen that is in trouble or is just about to get into serious trouble with the internet and they include the following:
- If your child is always on the internet, then you have enough reason to keep a closer check on them.
- If you find pornography and other explicit material on the computer or phone of your child, then that is more than enough evidence of trouble.
- If your child is receiving calls, emails and messages that sound mysterious to you, it is time to check into the matter urgently.
- If you have evidence of your child receiving gifts that are unaccounted for, then there is trouble brewing.
- If you notice strange behaviour like the sudden need to be alone or locked up in their room, lack of appetite and sleeplessness, chances are that your teen or pre-teen is experiencing some sort of internet trouble that could be serious.
- When you notice that your child always changes the computer screen whenever you walk in unexpectedly, trouble is definitely present or on its way.
- If you discover that your child uses a fake account with a fake profile, chances are that you are living with a bully.
- If your child refuses to let you view their online friends and their profiles, ask yourself what they are trying to hide.
- If your child is avoiding school, ask them why, in extreme cases, some children sneak out at night when everyone else is sleeping soundly.