Distance learning puts a lot of responsibility on the parent, and that goes farther than schoolwork. Homeschool parents have to go the extra mile to teach their children about internet safety. This can be especially beneficial since parents can monitor their children more closely than a teacher could. Here are some tips on how to teach your kids about internet safety in the home.
Online Predators and How to Handle Them
The internet isn’t always the safest place for children. The Department of Justice states that 76% of internet-initiated sex crimes start in a chatroom. Remind young children not to talk to any strangers, including online strangers. Encourage older children to be wary of who they’re talking to online. Also, remind them to be careful of the information they give out online. Be upfront with older children about the threat so they can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and signs of grooming. This can include a person who pays them special attention online and attempts to give them things in real life.
Schools have content filters to make sure students can search the internet safely, and so should homeschool parents. Content filters can help keep students safe from harmful content and allow parents some peace of mind. However, content filters aren’t enough. Plus, kids can get past them. Teaching children about why certain online interactions are dangerous works along with content filters.
While distance learners may not necessarily experience bullying in person, online bullying can become a huge problem for an eLearning student. Parents should teach students about cyberbullying and how to effectively handle those situations. Make sure children understand to come to you when they see online bullying. Teach older children how to report or block those who treat them badly. Many websites have ways to do this that will help students keep their time online safe and productive. Content monitoring programs like LearnSafe automatically detect incidents of cyberbullying and at-risk behavior. Installing this software on school-owned computers used for distance learning helps adults to intervene before situations escalate.
Depending on the site you use, there are different ways you can make friends online. While a lot of websites aimed at younger people allow minimal communication, some video games allow for voice and type chat. This could lead to children making friends online. While this can be fine on some level, make sure your children understand what information shouldn’t be given out online. Children should also understand how to be respectful in online play situations. If someone isn’t treating them respectfully, they should remember they don’t have to stay friends with them.
Text by Elizabeth Slatsky