Games, videos and social media – the Internet is a digital adventure playground for children and young people. At the touch of a button, infinite expanses and countless possibilities open up. From research for homework to exciting games and chatting with friends: On the Internet, children can find learning content and entertainment suitable for young people. But not all the experiences children and young people have on the Internet are good without restrictions. Help your offspring to develop freely on the net and to get to know the new media without fear. We will explain to you how you can protect your children in cyberspace.
1. Address Dangers
Talk to your child about which content is allowed and which is not. A thirteen-year-old is not aware of everything that can happen if your child posts his or her address publicly on Facebook. Therefore, make the abstract idea of privacy comprehensible for your child with concrete examples. Make sure that you address the three dimensions of privacy:
Cautious children: Be aware that children often lack the foresight to assess the consequences of their actions. With vivid examples, you can convey in a child-friendly way what your children can share online without worrying – and why photos, phone numbers or addresses do not belong in the public domain.
Respectful children: Your children should also learn to respect the privacy of others. Help your children recognize and protect the boundaries of friends and classmates. Children will find it easier to understand this complex issue from their own perspective. Ask your child how he or she would feel if others were to spread photos or rumours on the web without being asked. The consequences of your own actions can be felt in a playful way.
Protected children: Last but not least, you should consider your child’s privacy to be a valuable asset: If you share bikini or nude photos on the net today, your child may feel uncomfortable in a few years’ time. It’s almost impossible to keep track of whose hands the pictures and information fall. Respect the fact that only your child should decide for himself what he wants to reveal.
2. Check Apps
Check what permissions an app requires before your child installs it. Make sure your children can’t install any programs on their own. To ensure this, you should assign a password to the App Store that only you know.
3. Make Agreements
Make agreements for the use of digital media. Banning certain services or the use of smartphones and tablets in general only makes them more attractive. At first glance, a ban seems to be the easiest solution. However, it takes away your child’s chance to learn how to use the media responsibly. You can even use a parental control app to monitor your kid’s phone.
The media education network “Schau hin” recommends these times:
- 3 to 5 years: half an hour per day
- 6 to 9 years: one hour per day
- from 10 years: about 9 hours per week
With special security software, you can enforce these agreements with technical support. If your children do not take the device out of their hands after the agreed time, it switches off automatically. For Apple 6 and later devices, set the time of use in Guided Access.
4. make the Browser secure
With solid security software, you not only protect your device against viruses, Trojans and other malware. Many solutions offer additional browser protection to protect your child from malicious websites. With such software, you can also store lists of sites that are classified as harmful or manually add sites that you think are harmful.
5. Set up a Child Account
Set up your own profile for your child on your computer. So you can decide for yourself which programs it can use. For example, install a child-resistant browser as the only way into the net.
With many popular services, the security and privacy settings can be adjusted for children with just a few clicks:
- Google in general: Filtering offensive content
- Youtube: switch on restricted mode
- Bing: Activate SafeSearch
6. Turn off Webcam and Microphone
Turn off the mic and webcam. In this way your children cannot be observed and heard without their knowledge.
7. Watch out for Changes
Cyberbullying is a serious issue in children’s rooms. Is your child withdrawing? Does it seem sad and listless more and more often? Cyberbullying can be behind the gloomy mood. Since many children are ashamed when they become victims of digital bullying, parents need to be sensitive. Stay sensitive to your child’s concerns and alert to changes in your child’s mood and behavior. In case of doubt, talk to teachers or other confidants about your suspicions and always have an open ear for your child.
8. Show Interest
Be open to the experiences your children have on the net. Ask yourself the questions of your offspring. Hardly anything is as important with regard to digital media as a good conversation that takes place offline.
9. Make the offline World attractive
Smartphones, tablets and laptops offer so many options that it’s hard to switch off. Make the real world tasty for your child – beyond social media, digital gaming and online research for homework. Offer activities that don’t require any power: a trip to the playground, board games or a reading aloud evening. As a good role model, you can do without smartphones and the like at meals together and similar family events.
1. Check Contact Requests
Make your child aware that he or she should not accept every contact request – only from people he or she really knows. Why would an adult man write your child without ever having seen him? Use examples to make it clear that your child should not blindly trust everyone.
2. Question Meetings in the offline World
Explain to your child that not everyone who sounds nice is nice. Does your child know the chat contact outside the Internet? Or is the nickname ComtessaPinky1956 perhaps not a 12-year-old girl? Make your child understand that they should never meet a chat acquaintance without asking you first. Together you can judge whether you trust the other person.
3. Listen carefully to Voice Messages
Be careful with voice messages: Special software makes it possible for the voice to sound younger. A voice message is no guarantee that an unknown person will actually write or tell the truth.
4. Select Platforms together
Choose a suitable chat or forum together with your child. Rely on explicit recommendations from experts.
5. Talk about Privacy
Why not just exchange phone numbers in the schoolyard – or is it really useful to share contact information in a forum or with a stranger in the chat? Adults know immediately why some information should remain confidential. Make your child understand why they should not give out phone numbers or addresses to chat acquaintances.
6. Block dubious Contacts
In many chat programs, you can prevent the reception of unwanted messages and contact requests. Your child does not know the contact? Simply block it at the push of a button.
Carefree in social media
1. Respect the Privacy of your Child
Allow your child some space. This also applies to the social media: it can quickly become unpleasant for adolescents if their own parents click on “Like” at every post and comment on the shared photos without being asked. It’s better to address photos or information that really interest you offline.
2. Help with the Settings
Take a close look at the account’s privacy settings. Ask your child to take a look at the settings and explain why it is so important. Set up profiles so that as little as possible is publicly visible on the net.
3. Stop the Tracking of your Child
Turn off social media tracking services on PCs and mobile devices. This prevents them from automatically posting a current location.