Although the internet has created a wonderful new world for learning, working and playing while bringing with its considerable benefits to children’s education and development, the need for maximum protection of those (the kids) who are vulnerable to the risks exposure cannot be overemphasized.
To ensure responsible use of digital communications, in this last edition, we shall highlight some safety tips the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given to minimise any adverse risks and impacts that mobile services can pose for children.
Four Tips To Help Protect Your Children Online
Build trust by keeping communication open and supportive:
Your child knows they can come to you if something goes wrong or does not feel right online.
Watch TV, play games and enjoy digital platforms with your children.
Discuss online opportunities, entertainment, learning and risks.
Be the parent, offline and online, by setting limits, controls and standards:
Set time limits for all activities, including online activities. Balance screen time with other activities.
Set location for device use. Where possible, use desktops not mobile devices. Keep devices away from private locations like bedrooms.
Set up parental controls and filters for harmful content.
Have clear agreements on online activities.
Be alert to signs of distress or problems.
Make sure your child/children understand(s) the SMART RULES:
Safe- Do not give out personal information when chatting or uploading online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and passwords.
Meeting- Meeting someone you have only been chatting with online can be unsafe.
Accepting- Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, pictures or text messages from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems; they may contain viruses or horrible messages.
Reliable- Someone online might lie about who they are and the information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who is knowledgeable. If you like chatting online its best to only chat with real world friends and family.
Tell- Tell your parent or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Lead by example:
Use devices responsibly.
Show respect in your online platform language and content.
Help your child to develop digital intelligence and social and emotional skills such as respect, empathy, critical thinking and resilience. Help your child practice and become a responsible online citizen.