Teaching Children How To Stay Safe Online

The internet can be such a wonderful resource for children, they can use can make use of this to facilitate learning, to communicate with close family and friends, to watch educational videos and to play games sometimes. As much as the internet is a useful place it also has many hazards and we need to be very careful when our children are using it.

For example, a child may innocently misspell the word ‘lego’ in a search engine and type ‘legs’ instead. This search will direct the child to a plethora of websites relating to legs, some of which may be pornographic content too.

Just imagine the effects of that such a small mistake can have on the mind of a small child. It is therefore really important for us to supervise and safeguard our children’s online activity.

So how can we safeguard and minimise the chances of our children coming across such content, let’s look at some ways that we can keep the internet as a useful resource and protect our innocent children from the evil content on there.

Online tools are available that will let you control your child’s access to adult material and help protect them from internet predators. Many internet providers have parental options to block certain content from coming on to the computer. Filtering programs help block sites from coming and restrict personal information from being sent out.

Try to keep the computer or laptop in a common area, not in the bedrooms or separate rooms to where everyone else sits. This should be someone where you can easily supervise the child’s online activity very easily.

Ensure that you share email accounts and social media accounts with your children and try to spend time online together. Tell your child to not enter private forums and to never post in them and importantly never give out any personal information online.

It is very difficult to ascertain whether our child has been exposed to the filth on the internet, as parents it’s important for us to always keep an eye on these things, since the internet does have an addictive element to it and some things can have really destructive effects including affecting a child’s studies, there emotional and mental wellbeing. Some warning signs to look for are if your child suddenly turns the computer off when you approach them, withdrawal from family, wanting to spend time alone for prolonged periods of time and reluctance to discuss online activities.

Here are some simple rules that you can use for your children, it may be a good idea to copy and paste and print the sheet out and display this somewhere your child will regularly see it.

Internet Rules for Children

1.    Don’t post any personal information, like your home address, email address or mobile number.

2.    Do not post pictures or videos of yourself, unless mum or dad approve of the site or location it is being uploaded.

3.    Never make friends online with people you do not know in person.

4.    Never agree to meet people you have met online.

5.    Not everyone online is who they say they are.

6.    Think very carefully about what you want to say before you post online.

7.    Respect other people’s views online, even if you don’t agree with what someone else is saying or you do not like what you see, this does not mean you can be rude or disrespectful.

8.    If you ever see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried then leave the website immediately and tell a trusted adult straight away.

May Allah protect our children’s innocence in every way and may they be exposed to only good things.