In an era when technology is seamlessly integrated into every aspect of life, children are exposed to a vast digital environment early.The internet has opened the door to knowledge, creativity and connection but also carries risks.
Children are the inhabitants of these lands and, curious, they try to explore the virtual world. As the managers of the digital world, we must prioritise and support children’s safety online.
From educational resources to interactive games, the internet is full of opportunities. But this interaction also brings with it problems such as exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying and sex predators.
Keeping children safe online requires a proactive approach. Start by creating open lines of communication. Encourage children to share their experiences online and create a space where they feel comfortable talking about any concerns or discomfort they may be experiencing.
Teach children online hygiene just as personal cleanliness. For security, teach them to use strong and unique passwords and not share personal information online. The focus is on the sustainability of the digital footprint and the need to think about publishing and sharing.
Set boundaries. Use age-appropriate restrictions on the type of content they can access and limit their time online. Use the parental controls on devices and platforms to customise browsing to suit their developmental level.
Cyberbullying is a common problem in the Digital Age. Give children the information and tools to identify and respond to it. Let them learn useful and reliable information. Teach them to question the authenticity of content and develop a mindset that values insight and scepticism.
Regularly monitor platforms they use to ensure they comply with family values and safety standards. Be aware of the latest trends and apps to know if they’re right for your child.
Promote the concept of digital citizenship and teach children to be responsible, respectful and ethical online. As in the real world, emphasize the importance of treating others with kindness and understanding.
Collaboration between schools, communities and parents is vital. Let’s enable children to navigate the virtual world safely, making their online journey informative, creative and, above all, safe.
Shekkinah Glory Odari, Nairobi