3 Simple Steps to Keeping Your 3 to 7 Year-Old Safe Online
Whether we like it or not, children in 2020 access the internet from a very young age – a situation perhaps exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown, leaving parents working full-time from home with schools and nurseries closed. Right now, children (and their parents) are increasingly dependent on the Internet to learn, entertain themselves and stay connected with friends and family.
Pandemic or no pandemic, children with access to the Internet can be vulnerable without procedures in place to protect them. For young children, these procedures don’t need to be complicated. Here are three simple recommended steps to keep your young children safe:
- BE PRESENT. Where possible, always be with your child when they access the Internet; this helps to instill healthy habits and enable you to see and immediately discuss anything unusual or “scary” that your child might come across.If you are unable to be constantly glued to your little one while they are online, the next best thing you can do is to stay in the room with them as much as possible. Being near means you can still hear everything (the device and your child) and are on hand to answer questions or offer support.
- EDUCATE. Begin the conversation early about using the Internet safely. We recommend the Jessie and Friends videos and activities as an easy and fun way to teach kids how to protect themselves, seek help, and safely play and communicate virtually with friends. Children at this age may not necessarily understand a list of dangers but they need to know that:
a- If they come across anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or
scared, they should talk to you or another trusted adult.
b- “Stranger danger” – you’ve taught your child to be wary of strangers they meet in the real world and they should be similarly aware of talking to anyone online; they need to be taught to remember: if the they can’t see someone, they don’t know who the person really is.
- CONTROL. At the end of the day, children are curious and adventurous, they will explore new things when they can. Using parental controls is an easy way to restrict innocent minds from wandering onto sites unsuitable for their age.
Following these 3 simple rules will help you keep your child safe online and teach them some basis good habits for using the Internet in the future.