July 29, 2021

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How to make the Internet a safer place for children

Photo: Shreyans Bhansali / Visualhunt

Although being connected to the Internet helps girls, boys and adolescents to learn and be entertained, at the same time it represents new challenges for mothers and fathers. If it is no longer easy to maintain that balance on any given day, these days of isolation can get a little more complicated.

To maximize the opportunities offered by the Internet while minimizing online risks, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provides several recommendations.

Among them, the first is keep communication open. According to UNICEF, building relationships of trust and open communication, encouraging and encouraging them to interact positively with technology helps to keep your children safe.

A sincere dialogue with children and adolescents about the activities they carry out on the Internet and the situations that arise there, fosters spaces of freedom in the use of the Internet based on trust and respect, and allows accompanying them in a timely manner in such a way that they feel supported to act freely, make decisions and ask for help if necessary.

UNICEF advises telling your children that if something happens to them online that makes them feel sad, scared or confused or when they have taken an unsafe action on the Internet, they can talk to you or another trusted adult who can help them find solutions.

Likewise, as a parent, you should be alert to any signs of distress. Observe if your son or daughter is withdrawn, upset, reserved, or worried during screen activities; This could be a sign that you are experiencing online bullying.

Second, UNICEF recommends promote healthy and safe online habits. At this point, invite your children to get involved in technology-free spaces and times. Now that girls and boys are at home all the time, establishing a family routine will facilitate daily activities and responsible use of the Internet.

Similarly, it urges you to encourage your children to be kind and respectful in the digital world, not to spread rumors or share stories or photos that could harm or embarrass another person; and remind them that what may seem like a harmless joke to one person may be deeply hurt by another.

Likewise, help your sons and daughters to control their privacy settings to protect their personal information. Teach them that everything they post online, from comments on social media to videos, is our cover letter and can no longer be considered private materials.

Third, UNICEF advises parents to spend time connected with their sons and daughters. At this point, he invites them to explore appropriate apps, games, websites, and social media together. If you don’t know how to use an app, your child can teach you. The Internet is a tool to bring different generations closer together, it is a space for everyone.

Fourth, UNICEF encourages parents to use the same technology to ensure your safety. By this he means that there is a series of technological solutions that allow you to protect your children online, such as configuring parental controls, technical actions that allow you to control what content your son or daughter can see.

Combined with the safe search filter “SafeSearch” in your browser, it can help you protect your children from things they shouldn’t see or experience online. They also advise covering web cameras when not in use.

In the same way, teach your children to adjust the security measures of their favorite social networks to help them protect their identity and private information, especially from strangers; use strong passwords, configure alerts for unrecognized logins, do not accept friend requests from strangers, report false accounts and inappropriate or harmful content.

Fifth and last, UNICEF recommends block, report and report situations that affect children online. With this they invite parents to Talk with their children about how to block, report and report content that bothers or worries them, if the messages they receive go from friendly to threatening, or what to do if they find out that someone is harassing a friend from school.

Every social media platform includes simple options to block, mute, or report something that makes you feel bad or upset.

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