With nationwide school closures due to the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic, children across the country have been left with no other option than to learn outside the four walls of the classroom. Schools have shifted to online classes as a temporary solution. With online tools such as Google Classroom, Zoom and podcasts by teachers, schools have been able to push on with academic calendar. On the flip side is the reality of increased screen time that has been occasioned by this. The onus is now on parents to ensure that children are safe online and are consuming healthy online contents.
Here are 5 tips to keep your kids safe online during Covid-19
- Have conversations about online safety; Discuss with your children about what is acceptable, the dos and don’ts and explain in honest terms the consequences of not abiding by the ground rules you have set. Talk about the importance of managing personal information, why they must not send pictures to anyone online nor send debit card details and talk to strangers. Remind them that strangers online may not always be who they appear to be
- Leverage on technology to protect them online; Ensure that their devices are running on an updated antivirus programs, with the privacy settings on. For younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help keep online experiences positive. Check the apps on their devices to see the individual privacy settings and possibly restrict or block access to certain types of contents, as well as limiting the amount of time spent on devices.
- Ask questions about their online activities. Be sure of what they are doing online, pictures they are liking and who they are talking to if any. Take things further everyday by requesting that they show you what they enjoy doing online. This will help you better understand their online activities and the potential dangers they might be facing.
- Be supportive and welcoming to make them feel comfortable talking to you about their online experience. How you react has a greater influence on your child’s readiness to be open minded or disclose anything they stumble upon online.
- Know the applications they use, stay online with them, and get involved. Find time to be involved and see what they are using each application for and the games they play.
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