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NCC introduces what parents can do to keep children safe online (Part 2)

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In continuation of series 1, this second part will look at apps and search engines that are child-friendly.

First step according the NCC child internet literacy scheme is to install child appropriate apps/search engines: Before a device is given to a child, age appropriate applications should first be installed on it. This will protect the child from inadvertently stumbling into wrong sites that appear as pop-ups.

Install firewall: Firewalls act as content filters. They help make sure non-age appropriate content does not appear on the child’s device.

Set timers on all devices used by the child: This helps to create discipline and structure for the child. Ensure clear time boundaries are set.

The teachers are major support networks and pillars in the life of any child. They are oftentimes as trusted as parents are.

Empower the child: This is one of the most important steps any parent can take. There is a sense of privacy associated with being online. Parents will not always be there when children go online.

Adopting a child–centric approach to the use of the internet prepares the child for unforeseen issues and assures the child of the trust and respect of his/her parent.

Ask how your children use the internet. Make them show you some of their favourite sites and discuss with them, make them aware that there are things on the internet which may upset them and that they can always talk to you or any trusted adult.

Make sure your child realizes that he or she should never give out personal details, such as name, address, school, and telephone numbers, to online friends they do not know in the real world.

Children will enjoy the benefits and advantages of the internet when they know how to stay in control and not allow themselves to be victims of the platforms and devices.

  1. Set ground rules and instructions in collaboration with the child.

b.Teach children basic online safety skills and how to apply them.

Pay attention/be observant: As children spend more time online, observe behavioural patterns and changes. Recognize unusual activities, actions and reactions. Where any change is observed, calmly address those changes and allow the child sufficient room to talk without being judgmental. The home is a safety net for children. It is also the best support system that allows an abused child recover from abuse and provides a means for managing post abuse trauma. Children need to know they can go to their parents with whatever concerns they encounter online.

Discuss and Engage your Children: Tell the child to never respond to junk emails or open attachments that are from unknown sources.

Be aware of any changes in the way a child uses the internet, such as the amount of time spent online. Also support your child to report bullying online, by contacting you immediately it occurs.

Encourage children to use nicknames and login names that don’t reveal any personal information about them.

Educate children on the possibility of people using fake names purposely to cheat, hurt or impersonate others.

Use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package.

Work with your child to understand how search engines work so that they don’t stumble on inappropriate content.

Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider or from retailers, these can help block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don’t want children to see.

Gain the child’s or young person’s confidence by appealing to his or her interests, teach them to think twice before they upload or download anything online.

If your child is using online platforms or programs for schoolwork, ensure a healthy balance between non-school related online activities and offline time.

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