How to set an environment that keeps children safe on the internet? In the midst of so much news about fake characters and inappropriate content found within seemingly innocent videos, such as the recent MOMO case, we ended up in a state of alert: we need to be aware of the importance of keeping our children safe on the internet. And yes, this is possible!
1. Talk. Build a bond of trust between you and your little one
The dialogue at home is critical and enlightening for children to understand risks and deal with situations where you are not around. At this point, understanding your children’s age and how prepared they are to comprehend each subject requires good sense. Moreover, look for an approach that matches his age.
You will not be around all the time. Therefore, children need to feel secure and know that they can (and should!) tell when something they have witnessed or experienced exceeds the limits of what you have talked together about what is right.
2. Pay attention frequently
In the early years of life, kids don’t have enough repertoire to distinguish what is real and what is fantasy. All information to which children are exposed can be understood as real. That is why our role in mediating their contact with information is so important.
Even with appropriate and curated content, a mediating adult is important as to help children properly understand what they see.
3. Set limits
We know that children of the Alpha Generation are passionate about technology. Our challenge is to know how to use this proximity kids have with technological devices to boost their development.
Stimuli are healthy when not in excess. Establishing how much time children can use their mobile phones, tablets or TVs is a good starter. Cartoons and digital games can complement playing, debates and outdoor activities to bring knowledge and reinforce positive values.
In addition, when determining how long to use the internet, a good tip is to take into account the age of each child.
4. Never underestimate content labeled “for kids”
The alert here is for seemingly harmless content open and freely available on the internet. Fake videos found within video platforms’ kids sections are a common theme in news. By imitating famous cartoons such as Peppa Pig and Frozen, this malicious content present inappropriate behaviors, violence and vocabulary for children for no apparent reason.
The latest controversial case is Momo, a japanese bird-like doll that appears in popular slime videos for kids that teach suicide techniques like cutting their wrists. Newspapers and sites are full of this sort of cases.
5. Have safe platforms for children as allies
Recommendation filters that suggest children’s content are not enough. YouTube Kids, for example, alerts you about its ability to block reported content and that “no filter is 100% accurate”.
Consider restricted, expert-curated content platforms. According to Nathalia Pontes, a psycho-pedagogue who acts in curating the contents of the PlayKids App:
“Rather than looking for spaces intended for children within the products and the internet, it is important that the family maintain a clear dialogue with the children, showing what risks the digital environment can offer if they do not use it correctly. This is a safe way to educate children and encourage them to grow as conscious digital citizens, prepared to deal with all the technology they love the best. ”
Now that you know how to take some steps to keep children safe on the internet, let’s put it into practice. Share with us your tips on how to harness the potential of technology in children’s development!
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