With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, schools have had to scramble to figure out how to educate kids while keeping them and their families safe from illness. In many cases, this has meant online learning or a combination of online and in-person classes. And for many families, the struggle is real — many parents are working from home as well, which makes the house a crowded place.
With the new surge in online schooling and internet access, how can you keep your kids safe online while they are using the computer for school? Here are a few tips you can start using today.
Talk About Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has been a reality for a long time on social media, but with e-learning becoming the new normal, there are more ways than ever for kids to hurt each other.
A lot of kids are absorbing their parents’ stress during these tough times which can lead them to lash out at others. Teasing another child or being unkind is a way for kids to feel some sense of control in a chaotic environment — which is also known as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
However, as a parent, you can teach your children how to cope with negative emotions like stress in a healthy way. You can also prevent further cyberbullying from happening by encouraging your child to report cyberbullying if they see it or hear of it. Make sure your kids understand how hurtful cyberbullying is, and encourage them to tell you or a school authority figure if anything is going on
Keep Your Devices Secure
One of the most frequent dangers that occur online is cyber scams. With everyone — kids and parents alike — working and learning from home, our home computer networks are carrying more sensitive information than ever before. Unlike home or school networks, they may not be set up for the highest security standards.
You can, however, create your own high-security standards. Start by making sure your WiFi is protected by a strong password. Change your WiFi network’s default name so hackers have a harder time determining what kind of router and internet service you have.
If your router has network encryption, make sure it’s active. If there’s an option for remote access, make sure it’s turned off.
The safer your home network is, the safer your work, school, and personal data are, which is vital with so much work being utilized online.
Consider Limits on Screen Time
As your child utilizes a whole new world online due to school, everything happens through a screen.
Having too much screen time can be detrimental to the development of childrens’ brains, especially when it comes to how they interact with the outside world. There’s evidence that kids who have a lot of screen time do poorly on reading tests and may exhibit deficits in the ability to pay attention.
If school is 100% online, you might decide to limit other forms of screen time and encourage your children to spend more time interacting in person, as well. This could mean going to a park, playing in the yard, or even just playing with toys in the living room.
Limiting screen time may be challenging, but it’s an important part of well-rounded development.
Enjoy Time Together as a Family
This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s given families a chance to spend a lot more time together. Looking back on 2020, that might be the one thing you remember most. Even with hybrid learning and remote work, you can take time away from computers and video calls to play games together, go on walks, and more.
Reconnect with your family and build new memories. In time, your kids might remember 2020 as the year they had the most fun with you. That would ultimately make all this stress worthwhile.
Online safety, network security, and preventing cyberbullying are essential, but nothing matters more than nurturing a close connection with your child. Being together can help you do that now more than ever!