The internet offers kids wonderful new ways to discover the world - a tool for learning, exploring, being creative, and connecting with the people who matter. However, with longer screen time, this has made them more vulnerable to risks such as inappropriate content, online bullying, and even exploitation.
Parents play a big role in keeping their children safe online, and there are practical internet safety precautions that can protect children from potentially harmful or inappropriate content and activities. Here are some ways to ensure fun and productive screen time for your kids.
- Talk about safety. Engage them in a conversation about how to stay safe online. Discuss with them potential risks and the importance of placing boundaries and protecting their privacy. Teach them to say no to requests that make them feel uncomfortable and to inform you about strangers who are asking them for personal information. It is also important to let them be “share aware” and know that anything they post on the internet stays on the internet for others to see for a very long time.
- Make house rules. Try to set rules on gadget use, such as not allowing them to use their gadgets in their room and setting the amount of screen time they have in a day. Place larger gadgets such as laptops in common areas where they can be better supervised when they are online.
- Tap into their online presence. Drop in on their profiles and posts and look into their app downloads and browser history so you can check for red flags. Try to get to know their online friends and teach them to alert you for inappropriate messages or posts on their social media feed so you can navigate through the situation together. For their safety, it is better to limit their posts to “friends only” instead of public settings.
- Set parental controls. There are phone features that can set phone limitations and content controls. Parents can also manage the websites their kids can visit on Google Chrome and disable the “browse incognito” feature. You can also turn on the feature that blocks sexually explicit and violent sites through the search engine’s Family Link app. You can also set parental controls on streaming services to make sure that your child will only have access to age-appropriate content.
- Read reviews. Do some research on an app before downloading it for your child, and take the time to pre-screen games, movies, or a series by reading reviews before allowing your child to play or watch them on his gadget. Better yet, double the fun and play or watch it with him!
- Build strong connections. Make it a habit to spend quality time with them. This will establish trust and make it easier for them to open up to you about the things and situations that they encounter while scrolling. To set a more natural tone, you can also share interesting things you found online, such as funny videos, fascinating trivia, or current events while you are having dinner together. This will help set the course for their own online behavior and help them to use the internet in a more positive way.
Keeping Filipino families safe online
As kids become more digitally-savvy, it is important to guide them to be safe, confident explorers of the digital world. As the Filipino families’ partner in creating stronger connections and in raising a generation of responsible digital citizens, the Philippines’ leading home broadband and digital service provider PLDT Home and Google joined forces in creating a kid-oriented video series on YouTube, Be Internet Awesome. This online series combines animation and live action — featuring Gen Alpha whiz Sam and his trusty friend Robo-berto in fun-filled yet enlightening adventures on how to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online.
These initiatives of keeping children safe online are in line with PLDT’s Child Safeguarding Policy implementation and underscore the company’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #16 that promotes just, peaceful, and inclusive societies including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
Find out more about how to #BeInternetAwesome. Watch the YouTube series HERE.