Your children's online learning experience will demand them to constantly browse content on the internet, which makes it important to monitor devices, moderate search results, limit screen time and protect online reputation. Educating your children about parental controls and encouraging responsible digital behaviour is the first thing that protects your children from online mishaps.
But what are parental controls?
Parental controls are settings that restrict content that can be viewed or downloaded across the web, based on maturity level. Parental controls work across three levels - network, device and applications.
Network controls - set on routers and broadband connection devices that moderate content on a household level.
Device controls - these are settings that are set on particular devices (PC, cellular devices, etc.) and function independent of the internet connection.
Application controls - these are content moderation filters set on platform or application levels such as on YouTube, Google, or other search engines.
Discuss the online activity
Have conversations with your children about the content they are reading and watching online and who they are connecting with virtually, as part of their online learning process. Familiarise yourself with sites your child frequents. Talk to them about what content and e-behaviours you find appropriate, but also listen to them and reach an agreement of internet usage norms.
Make sure to teach them that the internet is not private and how they must be mindful of what they share and how they conduct themselves online.
Have children access devices from shared spaces rather than in the privacy of their rooms. Parental presence helps them stay in check and also allows you to keep an eye on their activity as they navigate online learning. Periodically checking browser history also helps you monitor the content they are consuming.
Use parental controls
It is advisable for you to learn about parental controls that help restrict your child’s searches. Most browsers and devices allow you to restrict the content your child accesses. For instance, the SafeSearch Filters feature on Google blocks websites displaying explicit sexual material.
Track your family’s digital footprint
Online learning may require your child to access a wide range of resources and upload submissions and other forms of data on the internet. Every detail shared on the internet adds up to your digital footprint. Information once posted may also remain online permanently. Hence it is important to have your child share any content mindfully and be careful while giving out personal details online. Teach them to share information only with trusted contacts and sites.
Monitor the amount of usage
Excessive screen time has adverse impacts on children. It is important to set a reasonable cap on your child’s screen time and also set time limits, say thirty minutes, for individual sessions if your child is engaging in self-paced learning.
Children learn a lot by observing; be a role model for positive online conduct that you want them to emulate. Be mindful of how you conduct yourself online and they will follow.
Make sure you share this resource with other parents helping their child learn from home.