How to ensure online safety for your kids in the age of virtual learning?

The coronavirus outbreak brought with it a drastic shift in various facets of our lives; it redefined our perspective on the world as we know it even as it confined most of our activities to the indoors. We were quick to adapt and adeptly took to the online world in order to continue with our daily schedules. Be it work meetings, fitness classes, music classes or schooling, everything soon became available on various virtual platforms.

This transition also applied to children across all ages who have since been attending school online. For many, this might even be the first time interacting so closely and extensively with the internet. Apart from online learning, the internet also offers children an entirely different parallel world of games, social media and other forms of entertainment. While online platforms are known to ease and grease the flow of play and productivity, they may also harbour certain impending threats to those who are new. Consequently, younger children become extremely vulnerable to the darker dangers of the world wide web. 

A little lack of or plummet in caution might lead to forms of cyberbullying or harassment, fraudulent advances by phony sources to access personal and private information, unsolicited exposure to inappropriate data, among many others. And all this, just within a couple shakes of a lamb's tail. So, it is very important to ensure online safety. 

There are many ways to stave-off unwanted or risky online activity. Here are some tips:

1. Inclination towards your child’s work:
A little bit of interest and involvement in the work that your child is doing is imperative. As children step into their teens, there are numerous reasons why they gravitate away from parents’ involvement and towards other social engagements. Therefore, early involvement helps in the long run.

2. Set a few ground rules:
As our child sets out to start using the internet, it is better to have a general rubric or guide they must follow. For instance, on the days that you work from home or are free during the time slots that your child is using the internet, monitor their activities by having them sit beside you. Other restrictions could include not visiting certain types of websites that you, as a parent, deem unfit at the moment. Children are quick to give out personal information on the internet, without fully realizing its repercussions. You can ask your child to use a pseudonym or nick name especially while playing games with people from all over the world. There is certain software you can avail of that blocks access to websites you don’t want your child to visit.

3. Have the talk:
Setting rules or monitoring your child’s work can only go so far without actually engaging in healthy conversation with your children about the pros and cons of the internet world. All rules and no talk might make your child feel like they are always under the radar of your scrutiny. Therefore, sit them down and explain to them the importance of being wary about giving out certain information to people on the internet, or scheduling in-person meetings with people they meet on various online platforms. A well-informed child is less likely to fall prey to fraudulent activities.

4. Help Choose a Safe Online Platform:
Given the abundance of online learning platforms to choose from, picking the right one can be quite tricky. There are a few things to factor in before opting for a particular website such as user accessibility, degree of engagement while learning, reliability, credibility and of course, safety and security. Since many of the children are new users of online learning sites, it would be very beneficial for you to help them choose a safe and secure source of online learning in order to ensure an enriched learning experience. We at FSM Buddy understand that learning should be fun and knowledgeable, and strive to provide an extremely secure medium of online learning across various categories to upskill your creativity. 

The internet has its good and bad, what matters is how you engage with it. Keeping these few points in mind while interacting with the internet will keep your child at bay from all the issues one can face on the internet.