Educating Children on Internet Use

November 26, 2019
The internet has become an indispensable part of everyday life for people of all ages. That's why educating children on internet use – how to use it properly and responsibly – is so important.

Educating children on internet use is more important than ever before. Today’s generation of children are experiencing a reality completely different from that of our childhood.

This is thanks to the huge advancements that have taken place since the arrival of the internet. Not long ago, the thought of a small child knowing how to use a tablet was something unimaginable. But today, it’s an everyday occurrence.

Millions of people around the world use electronic devices and the internet every single day. This modern reality brings countless benefits to our lives. However, as parents, we can’t ignore the fact that it also involves a series of dangers.

It’s our responsibility, our duty, to educate children on internet use and to set proper limits from day one.

Digital natives

It’s no longer strange to see children that are only 2 or 3 years old using their mom or dad’s cell phone with expertise. In fact, society has even coined a term for these technological tikes: Digital natives. The term refers to children who are connected from the time they’re born because they’re born into the digital area.

The internet, social media, and electronic devices are an incredibly attractive and tempting world. That’s why it’s so crucial for parents to know how to handle their use properly. It’s our job to make sure our children can navigate this new world the best way possible.

Information and responsibility

To learn how to educate others, we need to do some learning ourselves. For that reason, we as parents need to be the first to stay up to date and informed regarding new technology that’s available… And how to use it.

Educating Children on Internet Use

In second place, as we always say, it’s important to teach our children through our own example. We can’t expect our kids not to spend 10 hours a day on their tablet if we’re spending that same amount of time on our cell phones.

And in third place, make responsible use of the internet. Children are also prone to follow their parents when it comes to navigation. In other words, they’ll want to visit the same sites you do. Therefore, when you’re around your kids, be sure to practice responsible use of new technology.

Parental control

All this being said, parents shouldn’t prohibit their children from using the internet. In fact, this is one of the most important aspects that parents need to keep in mind when it comes to educating children on internet use.

Like it or not, this is the digital age. Children use social media, watch videos online, or look for information on the internet for their school work. Not allowing them to do this, in a way, excludes them from society.

While it’s true that prohibition isn’t good, it’s important to establish a series of limits and controls. First and foremost, parents should set time limits regarding internet use. This refers to the days of the week and the times of day that children can be on the internet. Parents may also want to set a limit for the total number of hours children can use the internet per day.

What’s more, you can take advantage of the parental control options on digital devices. These are perfect for small children or when parents simply don’t want their kids to see certain types of content. With parental control, parents can block offensive information or internet content and applications that aren’t age-appropriate.

It’s a very good idea to establish spaces and times where your children can use digital devices. For example, to educate children on internet use, it’s a good idea to keep them away from the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table.

Also, while children are reading, studying, or doing their homework, digital devices can be very distracting. Unless, of course, your child needs the internet to complete his or her assignment.

Educating Children on Internet Use

Understanding the risks

In the same way that new technology is part of our day-to-day life, unfortunately, the dangers they involve are as well. And this is one of the most important issues to consider when we educate children on internet use.

Every day we hear about instances of bullying on the internet. Cyberbullying affects children and teens, and the suffering it causes can have serious consequences. For that reason, when we explain the wonders of the internet, we must also be frank about the risks. 

We need to make it very clear to our children that they should never talk online with someone they don’t know. At the same time, they should never share personal information about any aspect of their lives.

Furthermore, children can suffer consequences just for sharing posts and making comments about current issues. The backlash can be very cruel.

When it comes to educating children on internet use, explain the dangers using real-life cases. This will help children become more aware of the dangers and take them more seriously.