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Safety Tips for young internet users

Michele du Plessis

“A research study conducted by the University of South Africa in 2015 showed that children as young as 10 years old are being allowed to play games with an age restriction of 18 years. This exposed them to gruesome and graphic violence as well as offensive language. Children participating in this focus group were asked to explain how these games made them feel. Some comments such as ‘I feel like fighting after playing the game and someone is irritating me’ and ‘In gaming you’re kind of in control of what happens to you personally; it is scarier because what happens in a movie happens to everyone’ painted a telling picture of the effect of this immersive exposure.”

Spare your child the trauma, stress and fear that some games or online content may cause. Have regular conversations about what your child is doing online and explore sites and apps together. Talk to your child about the personal information they never must share online and agree about what behaviour is appropriate while they are online.

How to keep your child safe online:

  • Download monitoring Apps on your device. These Apps monitor your child’s online activities and can be set to:
    • Alert you when your child logs on to an App or try to download an App.
    • Allow you to set limits on how much time they can spend online.
    • Allows you to grant permission for your child to download an App.
  • Always supervise your children when they are online and get to know the games they play or videos they access on platforms such as YouTube.
  • Be aware that the internet does not only offer fun activities, there are also criminal activities.
  • Teach children not to share personal information and to ensure their privacy settings are always on.
  • Assist them to identify activities or people that make them feel uncomfortable and to report such activities immediately to their parents.
  • Teach children to block any person who bullies them and to report to an adult.
  • Ensure that the devices they have access to be restricted to age-suitable content.
  • Many social networks require users to be 13 years or older. If your children have social media accounts, ensure that you check their privacy settings and who they interact with.

 

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