The waves of COVID-19 infection have sent panic across the globe with strict lockdown practices being followed almost across the world. When every one of us is locked inside the house to protect ourselves from infection and diseases, kids have switched to TV, smartphones, and the internet to kill the boredom. They are spending most of their daily hours streaming the internet and taking part in various online activities. As parents, many of us are in a stressful condition due to the long internet and screen hours of our kids during this home-bound period. However, we can monitor and set certain boundaries to know what they browse, when and how long do they remain online, whether they are engaged in school work, digital learning, or watching movies on online streaming channels.
To help you with, we have a few tips on safe internet practices for kids to follow during this lockdown period. Read through the article to know more about it.
Safe internet practices for kids during the lockdown:
Here are a few tips to be practised while children spend their hours on the internet devices. Though instituting a healthy screen time is a challenging chore, let’s set and abide by certain rules to keep our kids safe.
1. Limit the number of hours spent on the screen each day. Schedule the activities and programs your kid can watch every day. Suggest them TV shows and apps they can try during this time instead of clicking on any random link. Creating awareness on the ill effects of watching the screen for long hours can encourage your kid to abstain from it. It will protect your kids from other health issues too. If you feel your kid’s eyes are strained, then speak to your paediatrician immediately.
2. Monitor your kids while they are texting, browsing, watching shows, and downloading things. You can join them casually on their activity without making them feel bad or monitored. Ask them to stick to the activity they are supposed to do and not to click on any link that pops up.
3. Keep an eye on the sites your kid is visiting and the app he/she is downloading. When you are free, check the terms and conditions of the sites that your kid is using and the type of information displayed on the website. Check the browser history to find out the recently visited sites and remove or block the unnecessary sites.
4. If your child has a smartphone, tab, or other device, then control it through administrative account and security protected parental portals. You can have parental lock in a number of sites. Also, there are specific video sites for kids full of entertaining content only for children. The risk of visiting unsafe sites would reduce if kids are offered access to such sites like YouTube Kids.
5. Make your kids aware of the sites they can visit and restrict the sites that they shouldn’t use. Also share with them the consequences they are going to face if they don’t abide by the rules framed by the parents. A little strictness is reasonable when it concerns children’s safety.
6. Try to know your kid’s friends with whom they are connecting on social media daily.
7. Make sure the child is not downloading any app or site without your permission. You can set a password on Play Store so that your child comes to you every time he/she has to download something.
8. Ensure your kids don’t post photos or other personal details on the internet to prevent strangers from accessing individual’s information. Make sure to check the privacy settings of your kid’s account to avoid negative consequences.
9. Always try placing the computer or laptop in the common area to prevent the kids from accessing unwanted sites without the parent’s knowledge.
10. Ensure the kids understand the importance of not sharing the passwords, address, school name, and the mobile number without the knowledge of parents. Also, ask them not to open any strange emails or attachments. They should report such incidences to the parents and should out-rightly ignore them.
Follow the above simple guidelines and make your kid safely access the internet services during the current challenging scenario.
Tips for productive use of the screen time
The regular time spend on screen for online classes and mailing the answer sheets can’t be avoided. What we can do is to incorporate other activities in between so that they remain distracted and occupied productively.
Give a break between online classes and homework. If you ask your child to complete the homework right after the classes, it will be too long a stretch.
Substitute endless gaming with creative online activities. Learning piano, painting, guitar, basic drawing and sketching etc is possible through online videos. This way, the time will be used productively.
Play music on speaker rather than allowing online videos. Let your kids take some dance moves on the music instead of being sedentary watching videos.
Elder kids can be encouraged to watch cookery videos and try that out in the kitchen. This will obviously consume their time in learning a new skill and experimenting in the kitchen instead of being on the screen for too long.
Explore online summer camps and summer activities. These camps have been creatively designed keeping the lockdown in mind so that children can pass their time creatively at home while learning new things. A little online time will keep them engaged offline for long.
Internet safety and reduction in screen time will have positive effect on your child’s mental health too. With your little effort, you can set a routine for your child which they would be accustomed to follow. This will bring a lot of free time for you as well. So, talk to your child, spend some time inculcating these safe practices and bring internet to the rescue when we all need some creative engagement of our children.