With schools closed due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), children are spending more time online. It’s the perfect tool for them to learn, play and socialise with friends! But at the same time, parents need to be more alert with the possible risks that come with the internet.
We connect with Digi’s own kids cybersafety expert, Philip Ling who is a father of two active girls to share tips on how parents can create a safer internet experience for their children.
“During this unprecedented time, we are all spending more time online to work, socialise and get by in our daily lives. It is more important than ever for us to maintain a healthy online environment for our children. They need to be prepared with what to expect with the online lifestyle and have the know-how to recognise risks and how to deal with them,” he said.
1. Talk to your children and win their trust
Children are a curious lot and innocent, accepting everything at face value, and depending on their maturity, they may be unable to differentiate between right or wrong, or to tell between fake or genuine characters.
Spend some time observing by joining them in their internet activities. Build their trust by showing interest in what they do online, find out what sites and apps they use, and who are their friends online. And clearly highlight the possible scenarios and risks they may encounter on the Internet.
Let them know that they can come to you any time for help or advice about an uncomfortable experience or unsuitable content they encounter online. If you find your child starting to act out of the ordinary, talk to them immediately to find out if something is wrong.
2. Set rules and routines together
Children who are stuck indoors are likely to spend more time online. Take this opportunity to set boundaries on how they spend that time and to access good content by utilising bookmarks, setting filters, or pre-approved playlists.
Set a rule for younger children to ask for permission before downloading any apps on devices. There are also many app reviews by online parental sites that you can refer to, to make informed decisions on age-appropriate apps for your child.
3. Encourage them to spend quality time online
Not being able to go outside and play with friends may have an impact on the children. It is important that they maintain their social contact which can be done via social media. Teach them how to responsibly use video conferencing chats to stay connected and help them discover the do and don’ts.
There are a host of free trusted content to keep children occupied and entertained. Challenge them to learn a new language or play games that encourage critical thinking. Watch our Digital Resilience videos or enjoy our Digiworld website with fun resources and quizzes
4. Make the most of your time with some family bonding
If you look at our current situation positively, you will realise that we now have extra time to spend with our loved ones. Make the best of this extended bonding time by taking breaks from screens and finding fun things to do together around the house. That could include chores! Remember, a lot of life skills learning can happen offline too.
Enlist your children to try out the latest recipe discovered on social media or host a cook off as part of your dinner team rotation. Put on dance workout videos or learn how to play that multiplayer game your child has been obsessed with. Your family members might be your only companions during these times, so make the most of it!
Digi has more resources on cybersafety awareness that can help you and your family, visit https://cybersafeinschools.my for more information.