“I’m watching you”: is it worth controlling a child on the Internet

The child spends a significant part of the day on the Web: there he studies, communicates with friends and has fun. But in addition to educational videos, chats and cartoons, there is a lot of inappropriate content on the Internet that a parent wants to protect him from. We figure out how not to turn care into surveillance and maintain a healthy relationship with the child.

What is Internet Security

The Internet is a universal source of information for any student. The child becomes an active Internet user from an early age. As in any new environment, the adaptation and support of parents is important to him on the Internet.

The list of dangers that a child may face on the Web is long: violence, pornography, disclosure of personal data, fraudulent operations, cyberbullying. In addition to external threats, there is a possibility that the child will not be able to control the time on the Internet, will begin to put off important things, or become Internet addicted.

The parents’ job is to introduce him to the Internet, to tell him about the rules of behavior on the Web and about the threats that he may face.

How to ethically supervise your child online

Do not follow every step of the child. Remember that the guarantee of his safety on the Internet is a trusting relationship with his parents.

It is also important not to set ultimatum prohibitions. Even if you see that the child spends a lot of time on his phone, you should not take away the gadget or restrict access to the Web. Today, the Internet is a necessary resource, and virtual communication in social networks is an important part of socialization. Talk to your child, share what is bothering you, and listen to his opinion. If an unreasonable ban can cause a protest, then understanding the reason and an agreement with the parent will help resolve the situation.

It is also not necessary to control the child secretly. Using tracking applications, reading correspondence, checking personal pages on social networks without the knowledge of the child is a gross violation of personal boundaries. Such actions can undermine trust in your relationship and lead to conflicts. Try asking yourself questions: “Why am I worried about the child?”, “Why do I feel like I don’t know something?”

How to ensure Internet safety for a child

When you let your child go for a walk alone, you explain to him how to cross the road correctly, check if his phone is charged, and ask him to call to make sure everything is in order. The same thing happens in the Internet space: it is important to teach a child the basic rules of security on the Internet, and, if necessary, control it.

Here are some ways to do it:

  • Children’s gadget mode. In order for the child to watch content appropriate for his age, you can set the children’s mode. YouTube Video Hosting offers the YouTube Kids app, where your child will only have access to the videos and channels that you have approved.
  • Screen time limit. This feature will allow you to control the time that your child spends in applications and social networks, and if necessary, limit it.
  • Tracking the location of the child. If the child moves around the city on his own and does not like to call you, the application will help you find out where he is in real time.
  • Blocking certain sites. You can restrict access to dangerous sites and resources on your computer so that your child does not encounter inappropriate content.
  • Various gadgets for study and entertainment. Try to separate gadgets: let the child use the computer only for classes, and the phone or tablet for communication and games. This will help him not to lose concentration and form a clear understanding of when to study and when to rest.

How to communicate your actions with the child

In my opinion, covert control greatly undermines trust. Parents receive certain information and begin to communicate with the child in a slightly different way. The child senses that something is wrong. Because of this, there is tension in the relationship. If he finds out that adults are secretly controlling him, it will be a big blow. Violating the personal boundaries of the child, the parent may lose trust, the opportunity for dialogue, and this is the only way to teach him to behave competently and not be in danger.

It seems to me that the principle of openness is universal: any form of control is acceptable if the child knows and agrees about it. For example, if a parent wants to install an application that tracks location, it is worth talking to the child about this, saying that you are worried about him. Here, respectively, there are two options: he says “yes, okay” or “no, I don’t feel like it.” It is important for the parent to enter into a dialogue and try to reach a compromise.

Totalitarian control will have no effect: a child can find any gadget, ask a friend for a phone and watch anything.

You should also not criticize the activity of the child in social networks. Even if he puts out some stupid things from the point of view of his parents, but they are not dangerous for his life and health, then he can do it. For a child, both the Internet and the world as a whole are a big sandbox in which he tries everything.

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