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7 digital practices to teach your child

When children step into the virtual world, they are exposed to many dangers both on the Internet and in real life. Picture: Reuters

When children step into the virtual world, they are exposed to many dangers both on the Internet and in real life. Picture: Reuters

Published Mar 14, 2022

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In order to survive in today's fast-paced Internet world, everyone needs to have certain skills. While adults tend to acquire these skills as new technologies emerge, children are almost born with a smartphone in their hands.

Therefore, it is up to parents to teach them how to exist in a world that is constantly bombarded with information.

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Kaspersky, the cybersecurity and digital privacy company, recommends parents teach children these 7 digital practices:

1. Create a device-free time zone

When children use technology for a long time, they can become addicted to it, just like anything else in life. According to researchers from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, this addiction can cause sleep problems, mood swings, weight gain, poor self-image and body image problems.

Experts recommend gradually increasing children's screen time with today's online world and opting for the removal of restrictions. In addition, some useful tips in this regard apply to children of all ages: the simplest and most effective is to not use devices when it's close to bedtime and to mute them during the night. It would be wise to negotiate other times when children are prohibited from using the smartphone, such as family meals.

2. Take control of the charger

Although technology develops at the speed of light, today's devices still run out of power quickly. It's also a good idea to have kids leave their devices outside the bedroom, such as in the hallway or kitchen. So the device's battery is always charged in the morning, and your kids won't be able to be on their cellphones before bedtime.

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3. Pay attention to information security and similar issues

When children step into the virtual world, they are exposed to many dangers both on the Internet and in real life. Start by telling them not to look at their phone while crossing the street or going up and down the stairs.

Advise your kids not to visit suspicious websites (and what that means), not enter passwords or any personal information on those sites, open weird-looking links, or download apps from anywhere but official app stores.

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Make it clear that they should never share personal documents, credit card information, or photos that could endanger themselves or their friends and family.

Kaspersky Safe Kids can help parents safeguard kids’ activities, monitor their behaviour and teach them self-control.

4. Aim for sustainable media use

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Constant notifications from devices can make one feel overwhelmed and distracted. You can imagine how hard it is for kids, as even adults sometimes have a hard time resisting the urge to check messages.

Limit notifications on your kids' phones so they're not distracted while doing homework or other assigned tasks.

5. Follow digital etiquette

Behaviour on the Internet is subject to unspoken rules. While people often master these things simply by communicating online, children need help avoiding awkward situations, so you should talk to them about some expectations before going online. Talk about the differences between communication channels.

6. Organise information

Some say that a regular phone or computer reflects an organised mind. A messy locker probably won't affect your child's life, but losing passwords or files or forgetting phone numbers can be a problem. Children need to learn to organise information from an early age.

7. Regularly schedule a digital detox program

With digital technology entering almost every aspect of children's lives, it has become nearly impossible to avoid information overload. This means kids need to be able to take a step back and make the Internet a less important part of their lives, first with your help, then on their own.

Limit the use of social networks. Social networks cause great loss of time and energy.

As stated in the New York Times, Devorah Heitner, the author of “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World”, shares that, instead of giving your child a smartphone and letting them download multiple social media apps, such as Instagram and Facebook, have your child text with a best friend or a cousin on a shared family device to start.

This doesn’t mean that your child has to stay away from social media forever. Kids grow up, and they become teenagers or adolescents. It’s almost inevitable that he or she will have social media.

However, as stated by Heitner, parents or guardians need to think about the most appropriate age for their child to start using social media, depending on various things such as their personality, impulsivity and maturity level.

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