Curious Kids and Technology: Are You Prepared for the Challenge
Children are a curious lot. There is nothing wrong with that, as this is how they get to learn new things. They are always searching for answers. Parents are usually bombarded by a barrage of questions asked by innocent minds, but sometimes, kids cannot ask certain questions from their parents. This is when they go for internet surfing. Internet has brought everything good and bad to our homes, and unfortunately, kids have a tendency for getting attracted to the latter. Parental control apps sure have mitigated the danger associated with internet use up to a great extent, but it is far from being an ultimate solution. Parents must know what’s in the mind of their little ones or what are they up to so that they can guide and protect them more effectively.
Warning Signs for Parents
How can parents know that their kids are curious about things they shouldn’t even be thinking about at their current age? Obviously, kids will try their best to hide their curiosity for certain things like sex, drugs etc. from parents. The good thing is that there are a few warning signs that can give parents a hint about what kids are looking into while using the internet.
Excessive use of internet: A sudden increase in the use of internet is a good hint that your kid is watching something inappropriate. If you feel that your kid has suddenly started taking more interest in online activities, then you need to monitor his online activities. He may be visiting inappropriate websites. These things attract kids as their curious nature urges them to know more.
Change in behavior: If your kid closes his door while using internet or starts to panic when you check his browsing history, then it means there is something wrong.
What Can Parents Do?
The first thing that parents should do is to install parental control software in kid’s computer, but do not forget to let them know about it as your goal is to keep them safe, not snoop on them. Here’s what you can do to stop kids from visiting websites and reading content deemed inappropriate for their age.
Customize Browser Settings: Parents must customize the browser settings in order to control the browsing activities of kids. The best way to do so is by blocking websites containing certain words like sex, porn, drugs etc. It is an effective way of keeping kids safe from adult content.
It’s Time for “The Talk“: Teens are curious about sex as our media and movies are often guilty of flaunting and glamorizing it. Parents must share a clear picture of sex with kids before they get a wrong idea about it from the internet.
Talk about Online Privacy and Reputation: Parents should help kids realize that whatever goes on the internet stays on the internet forever and can have far-reaching consequences. So, kids should avoid sharing their personal information, images and any other inappropriate content that can have implications on their lives in the long run.
Set Internet Rules and Boundaries: It’s best to set rules regarding the internet use. If your kid is under 12 years of age, then you should not allow him to use internet in your absence. In the same way, make it clear to the kids that you can check their browsing history and online activities at any time. Also, advise them not to clear their browsing information. Parents may also fix the time for internet use instead of allowing them to use it 24/7.
A Few Additional Tips for Kids’ Safety
- Keep computer in high traffic area like hallway
- Monitor online activities of kids regularly
- Try to stick around kids while they are using internet
- Keep doors open for communication
Childhood curiosity is normal, but leaving it unchecked can have serious consequences. It is imperative that parents realize and understand the many dangers of the internet, remain aware of what’s going on in their kids’ curious minds, and act proactively instead of simply reacting to the situation.