Just like in the real world, parents should monitor their children in the virtual space. With our tips, your kids will stay safe online.
A life without a smartphone, Facebook and Co.? Especially for young people nowadays it can no longer be imagined. Your children belong to the generation of digital natives, and the Internet and social networks are an integral part of their daily lives. Even if the constant immersion in the virtual world sometimes bothers you: the Internet offers great opportunities, for example the opportunity to maintain a social life despite the pressures of school, time constraints and an incredible amount of accumulated knowledge. However, there are some inherent dangers on the Internet, especially for young people: cyberbullying, theft and child sexual abuse are just a few examples of the many risks. To avoid this, there are a number of things you can do to help teens surf the Internet without any controls or bans:
1. Get down to work
In order to support your children online, you need to know, for example, what social networks exist and how they work. Create your own profiles on different platforms – not to control your children, but to try it out for yourself. You do not have to become an active user; The profile can be made completely private, runs under a pseudonym and does not require any photos of you.
2. The ban sparks curiosity
Some parents prefer not to allow their children to use Instagram, Snapchat, or certain websites for safety reasons. However, this is not very recommended: for teenagers, everything that is forbidden is immediately more exciting! And you can check if your child is not secretly log in to Instagram, young people can learn how to delete browser history quickly. Another reason against ban: Affirmation and affiliation play an essential role, especially in the teenage years. If all friends are on Instagram, not just your child, they will quickly lose connection and be automatically excluded.
3. Boost confidence
Mutual trust is always important, including when it comes to browsing the web securely. If your kids are afraid of being banned from the internet or having their smartphone confiscated once something goes wrong online, they won’t trust you. What applies in real life should also apply to virtual space: everyone makes mistakes. Key difference: The Internet is never forgotten. Once the wrong images are circulated, it is difficult to delete them. It is precisely in such situations that you should try to learn from mistakes with your child rather than punish him.
Just as in the “real” world, you should also know where your child is on the Internet. In the Opportunity Network, even adults accidentally click on links that display annoying or disgusting content. It is precisely in such situations that you should stand by your child as someone he trusts.
4. Agree to the rules
As with your everyday family life, you should also agree with the rules of the internet. “Don’t get into strangers’ cars” here: Don’t talk to strangers. Train your children’s critical eye, and show that healthy mistrust is also important online. After all, you never know if a chat partner is really what they claim to be. Talk about your privacy and personal data settings. Agree that passwords may only be used once and should be as complex as possible. Tools like LastPass are useful for monitoring the flow of passwords. If you want to record everything, you will find a great tool here for setting up a media usage agreement. You can make different rules and conventions, then print them out and hang them on the fridge, for example. Of course, the rules also apply to parents.
5. Check your surfing behavior
Parents should be role models for their children, also in the virtual world. Anyone who constantly posts private photos and personal information online will have a hard time getting their kids to be careful about it. You should always be on the safe side with your own posts – you can also have your kids Google it! Also refraining from posting pictures of children, is not only wary of child sexual abuse. Your teenage kids will thank you, because who wants to appear online in public in diapers or with a smudged face?
6. Educate about the consequences
Young people often think that downloading or streaming movies or music is perfectly legal. However, this is not the case with protected content. There is also an inherent danger in online communities and free apps and games – in case your wallet is in doubt! Since most young people do not have their own credit card yet, they can use their parents’ internet bill. This works through so-called value-added services, which deduct the amount due from the relevant mobile or internet bill. A convenient way to pay, especially when pocket money is not enough.
Ad banners in apps can also be subscription traps, and sometimes one accidental click is enough to sign up for a paid service. Explain to your child how these paid offers work and, as a precaution, block all value-added services in your child’s mobile phone contract.
7. Use parental control
Youth protection filters ensure that no content harmful to youth is displayed. Sites containing violence, hate and pornography are filtered out from the search results and can no longer be accessed by the browser. In addition, a so-called blacklist can be created, which blocks certain pages and content. You can find more information and download the appropriate software on the Jusprog website. Protecting minors is more difficult on some mobile devices such as tablets or cell phones. However, on most devices, many functions such as location services, app installation and deletion, changes to user accounts, and in-app purchases can be password protected with just a few clicks.
8. Four eyes see more
Have you ever clicked on Facebook’s data protection and privacy settings? It can make your head spin. Therefore, review your settings together, according to the principle of the four eyes. On Facebook you have z. B. Also the possibility to look at the profile from the eyes of strangers to check if what should remain private is really private.
9. Take immediate action in the event of bullying
Cyberbullying is a huge problem in the digital world. Anonymity and impersonal encounters lower the threshold for anti-discrimination and are worse for many. If you discover that your child is being bullied online, you must act quickly. Always in consultation with your daughter or son of course:
- Take screenshots of messages, comments or photos.
- It uses the blocking and reporting functionality of the respective networks.
- Talk to other parents about their experiences.
- Download the “Cyber-Mobbing First Aid” app from the European Union’s “klick-safe” initiative. On the other hand, there are tips and talks numbers, and there are also two guides, one for girls and one for boys. The short videos give advice on how young people are reacting now.
10. Ask for help
Do you feel that your child has problems on the Internet, but you do not talk to yourself about it? For concerned parents, there is a number against adult grief. under 0800 111 0550 You get free and anonymous help. Even kids who don’t want to turn to their parents can also talk to the Number Against Grief about it. under 0800 111 0333 Youth and adult counselors are available. There is also a youth help platform for young people www.juuuport.de. Problem sites and content can also be reported directly to the online complaints offices www.jugendschutz.net or www.internet-beschwerdestelle.de.
At www.klicksafe.de/materials you will also find plenty of additional materials on this topic that you can use to learn more.
In this video you will find some additional tips against bullying.
Is my child ready for high school?
Image source: Getty Images, Thinkstock
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