In the words of Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, one of the most well-known psychologist and author in the UK, with a career as a research scientist and practicing psychologist:
‘the online world is an amazing place where children can play, learn, create and connect; however, it can also be a very intimidating and dangerous place’. As parents, our role is to be the protector of our children wherever we can. Whether it be when holding hands to cross the road or making sure that there are no monsters hiding under the bed. We are always there to take the safest possible route that we can to ensure the safety and happiness of our little ones. However, the emergence of the online world is a ball game that we compete with every day. What we must do is take the time to reflect and ask ourselves what we can do to ensure the uttermost protection that we can from something that is a strong necessity in this modern world.
Here are some effective methods to take under your wing the next time the internet feels like an impossible game to beat:
Control that digital footprint!
It is important to make your children aware that everything that they choose to share online, whether it be a post or a photograph will accumulate together to create their very own digital footprint. As wonderful as this sounds, this can be used in unfortunate circumstances that may be way out of your ability to control. Make sure that your little ones are being smart about protecting their own privacy and posting things that are appropriate. And the same goes for adults, too!
Be an online role model
As parents, we are always acting as role models for our children – this includes our online presence too! If you expect your children to act a certain way online then you should be practising what you preach. This includes limiting screen time, being respectable and being aware. This does not mean we should be scaring our children away from the vastness of the internet, it means to guide them in the correct direction and show them what an amazing way it can be to connect in the online world!
Stay in the loop
All children deserve their privacy, just as we as adults do too, however staying safe on the internet relies on openness and honesty. Make it a routine to get your children to talk to you about what they have been discovering in the online world! This can be a light-hearted way to stay in the loop and be aware of your children’s online presence, as well as prompting them to make the right choices on the internet.
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