As a parent, it’s up to you to teach your child important skills that will help them to be successful in life. In today’s digital age, one of those skills they absolutely must learn to master is how to use the Internet. And it’s not just about how to perform searches and find funny videos, it’s about teaching them how to use the Internet in a safe and responsible manner. They also need to be able to identify which sites and what content is trustworthy.
So where do you begin in teaching your child how to use the Internet? At what age should you introduce them to the Internet? Should you give them free rein of it? Here are some tips and advice that should make the teaching process as smooth as possible.
Introduce Them to the Internet at a Young Age
Because society is so heavily reliant on digital tools such as the Internet, the fact is that your kids will need to know how to use it. With that in mind, it’s best to introduce them to it at a fairly young age. That doesn’t mean you hand them a tablet and walk away, instead the experience can begin more as a mentoring type of relationship.
You can be the one who is actually using the Internet but have them watch what you are doing. You can perform searches for content that relates to their age group and would be interesting to them. Take for example a toddler, you can be showing them educational content online, including videos and games. They aren’t going to understand the “Internet” or how you are making these things appear on the screen, but it does act as an introduction that there is this tool that can be used to find information.
If your child is a little older, perhaps just entering school, then it can be used for more age appropriate content. After watching you perform searches and navigation exercises, you can let them give it a go.
Discuss Online Safety
Once kids are old enough that they are showing interest in the Internet on their own, meaning they know the basics so they could technically find their way around, then it’s time to discuss Internet safety. There are some basic rules you can teach them, which are:
- If you come across a site that seems inappropriate, turn off the screen immediately and tell an adult.
- Don’t click on links to outside pages.
- Learn to question content you read and look for reliable websites and sources.
- Everything that is posted online is permanent so give thought to what you post.
- Don’t chat with people you don’t know, and don’t respond to emails if you don’t know the person.
Find that Middle Ground
While it’s certainly important to be aware of your child’s online activities, it’s also okay to give them a bit of independence. Let them explore and get creative. The Internet can be a great source of fun and entertainment, such as the Rage Maker site which allows users to create their very own memes, which is the big trend nowadays.
Preparing and Educating Your Kids in a Fun and Engaging Way
Teaching your kids how to use the Internet is a reality of today’s times, so doing so in a way that is safe, fun, and engaging is always the best plan.