5 Reasons to Stay Active in Your Child's Online Experience

Apr 02, 2014

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The Internet is an integral part of everyday life. Communication, work, play and much more are accomplished while online. Children need to know how to effectively coexist in the online world, and parents must help educate their child.

Staying active in the online activities of your child can help shape their future in many ways. Why is it important to invest your time to help?

1. Victim Prevention - By spending time with your child and teaching them of the importance of online privacy, you can help prevent your child from being victimized. With Facebook and other social media sites, a plethora of your child’s personal information can be easily obtained. However, there is no real reason to over share information. Online "friends" don't need to know where you live or where you go to school -- it serves no purpose other than allowing someone to find your child. Teach your child to be aware that school friends might be trusted, but online friends should not be given complete access.

2. Cyberbullying - The anonymous nature of the Internet provides an excellent forum for bullying. The removal of interpersonal connection makes it much easier to randomly spew comments without immediate repercussions. Your child needs to know that, when bullied online, the best action is to take no action at all. Instead of being goaded into providing a bully with the satisfaction that he or she has hurt your child, they should be ignored and reported to the system administrator, social media site, etc. - if there is one. Most child-friendly websites and such have reporting methods and take action against cyberbullying.

3. Gaming Experience - Many games online are free to install and play. However, a large portion of them may be unsuitable for your child. By taking an active part in your child’s gaming experience, you can justify whether a game is OK or should be removed. While many games are age-neutral, others can possess a great deal of content that is not suitable for children.

4. Proper Usage - The Internet is more than a gaming platform or a way to chat with friends after school. The sum of human knowledge is available today in the digital world and can be greatly appreciated as a method of learning almost anything a child wishes to know. However, kids need to be taught to corroborate or validate information found online with other sources because not all websites are truthful.

5. Self-Improvement - In order to help a child understand the capacity of the Internet, parents need to know how it works as well. Even if you have no experience, it can be a bonding moment as you and the child explore the possibilities of what it can do together. The Internet shouldn't be feared, but it needs to be respected.

The Internet can be an excellent tool and a wondrous playground. By remaining active in your child’s online experiences, you can help alleviate many problems and encourage further intellectual development. If a child is left to experiment alone with the Internet, they can find themselves in a considerable amount of danger.

Although the microwave is a useful tool, you wouldn't let a child use it without learning how it works - would you?