You keep hearing all these stories of crimes being committed through the medium of the internet. Before you think about protecting your child and keeping them safe from predators on the internet, there is one important thing you need to understand – not everyone on the internet is a pedophile or a criminal. When you understand this and admit it to your child, you would be able to make your child understand that not everyone on the internet is nice either. The effortless availability of the internet makes it difficult for parents to control their children. However, that is not the way to keep your child safe. If you really want to keep your child safe, you should follow these tips –
Be Friends With Your Child – Have a friendly relationship with your children so that they can trust you with anything and be more willing to share their feelings with you. If they make a new friend online, you would hear all about it. This would take the element of surprise out of the equation. If they want to share anything about the person with you, be all ears. This friendly behavior would ensure that your child doesn’t get trapped by bad people online. Children who don’t have a good relationship with their parents are at the greatest risk of being baited by predators. Don’t let your child feel alone.
Join Social Media – If you actually want to understand your child’s perspective, you have to join social media. However, you also have to understand that your child might not enjoy being watched. So, don’t constantly like your children’s post, comment on their feed and interact with them. Join social media just so that you have an idea about the kind of company your child is keeping. Keep an open mind about social media because certain websites like Instagram can often cause “generation shock” in parents. This would also help you and your child bond with each other.
Play Similar Games – Having the same interests will help to build better relationships with your child as you will have common topics to talk about. Games such as Mobile Legends allows players to fight together as a team together with other teams online. This encourages teamwork and strategic planning between players. Join your child in these quick games and see things from their perspective. If they realize that their closest family member is the one to turn to, they would reduce the reliance on the potential bad people online.
Trust Your Child – The most important thing that you can do for your child is trust them. This isn’t blind trust but a basic amount of trust that your child has earned. If your child insists that their new online friend is a good person, then don’t contradict them. If you have doubts about this online friend, use hard facts and actual proof to support your argument. Just make sure that you are calm and not controlling when it comes to your child’s online life. If you keep mistrusting or doubting your child, they would become an easy target for predators.
Don’t be Controlling – If you try to cut off your child from the internet or take major steps, you are pushing them towards online predators. Your child will lie to you, sneak off without telling you and make friends you have no idea about if you try to control them by force. Instead, try to adopt an open approach when both of you are willing to understand the other person’s arguments.
At the end of the day, there should be no hard feelings and your child should understand that you are just trying to ensure their safety.