Kids these days are all but glued to their gadgets. As a single dad of 2, I’ve found that trying to change this is a losing battle. The truth is, our efforts are better used in making sure that kids play games safely. While technology can be fun and an excellent tool for learning for children, it can be dangerous if the proper guidelines and boundaries aren’t put in place to secure the safety of children from online predators.
Here are some top tips for ensuring that your children’s technology is as child-friendly as possible:
Age-appropriate video games
One of the ways you can ensure your children’s online safety is by monitoring the games your kids play online. Ensuring that these games are age-appropriate by implementing the proper parental controls is one to make sure that your kids are viewing and playing games that are suitable for their age group.
Teaching your child about online safety
Many of the games that are played online today include virtual worlds or virtual realities that people of all ages can play under a fictitious player name. Understandably, this can open the door to devious behavior online. Therefore, it’s extremely important to teach your child about online safety and how it’s important to be aware of dodgy behavior online. And to report anything suspicious to you so that you can help put an end to a situation in the wisest, safest manner possible.
No need for a webcam
Webcams are all good and well for business calls through Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, for instance, but when it comes to the safety of your kids, it’s almost always better to ensure the camera is turned off when your child partakes in online video games. Again, having the webcam on and your child’s face visible on-screen can compromise your child’s identity online, which can be dangerous if this falls into the wrong hands.
Some of the games your child plays online are highly interactive, which means you can try your hand at it too. Furthermore, by playing the game with your child, you’ll get a firsthand experience of what the game actually entails and can gauge the safety of the game your child is playing. On a lighter note, gaming equipment and accessories such as quality headsets can enhance the gaming experience. But be sure when it comes to gaming headphones that the volume levels are at an acceptable range so as not to cause damage to their hearing.
Implement the necessary security measures
Ensuring that your child’s devices have the necessary antiviruses in place and updated software installed can secure and protect your devices from getting hacked and from malicious malware that can potentially expose private information to hackers that may use this information for their advantage and your harm.
Delete before you dispose
Suppose your device is out of date, and it’s time for an upgrade and time to do away with your old device. Before you decide to dispose of old and outdated devices, make sure to delete all personal information from your device so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Limit screen time
Too much screen time can actually adversely affect your child’s mental health and physical health. Amanda Robinson, LPC, RPT has written a post to help parents set screen time limits so that kids don’t overdo it. You can find it here.
Safety first, fun second
Indeed, there is a time and place to have fun. And for youth these days, having fun usually includes partaking in online gaming. However, as fun and entertaining as it may be, we know that safety should always come first above all else to protect our children at all costs.
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Written by: Daniel Sherwin
Daniel Sherwin created DadSolo to provide other dads with resources that will help them better equip themselves on single parenthood. He is currently living with his two kids: a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son.