In the last piece on the advice to parents and caregivers, on the online safety of their children and wards, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and Cece Yara Foundation took a look at the opportunities and risks inherent in children being online while striking a balance between these, as well as the four categories of risks that children are exposed to, online.
In this piece, they highlight what parents and caregivers can do, to keep their children and wards safe online, from the categories of risks identified. Please, read through the advice below.
What to do to keep children safe online
To keep children safe online, The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and Cece Yara Foundation, advice that parents and care givers should:
Anticipation of risks will lead to appropriate control measures, being put in place before a child is allowed access to digital devices, or the internet. Some of these anticipatory control measures include:
Parental education; As a parent, stay informed and educated, about the use of your devices and the devices that your child has access to.
Stay informed on various social network sites and what happens on them.
Stay informed and better educated, than your children and wards. Make them understand that you know as much, or more than they do, therefore, be their go-to person, for information on what to do with the device you, eventually, give them access to.
Care Givers should be trained on how to guide children, in online activities; Schools have adopted the use of online platforms for education.
Care must be taken to educate the teachers and prepare them for the avalanche of questions from children, on the use of various online applications, or whatever information the children encounter online.
The teachers are major support networks and pillars, in the life of any child. They are oftentimes, as trusted as parents are.
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.
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.
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.
- Set ground rules and instructions in collaboration with the child.
- Teach children basic online safety skills and how to apply them.
Pay attention/be observant
As children spend more time online, observe behavioral 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.
More on what the Nigerian Communications Commission Cece Yara Foundation advice parents and caregivers to do, to keep their children and wards safe online from risks, will be continued in the next piece coming soon.
Featured Image: nairametrics
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