Internet Safety for Kids: Enabling Children with Positive Internet Usage

Last Updated on August 13, 2021 by Thinkster

Do you remember about twenty years ago when computers weren’t commonplace? Then, you finally got one and you had a whole room dedicated to it? What about when your dial-up internet came on a disk, took fifteen minutes to open, and the websites were mostly just text on a page?

Things are a lot different now, with every website loading in milliseconds to provide you with anything and everything you could imagine. The internet was designed to be a network of shared information and connection between humans, but we both know that it became bigger than anyone could possibly control. And because of its sheer size and depth, it comes with many unique and sometimes dangerous problems.

What’s worse is that your children, unlike you, have now grown up in this age of computers and technology. It’s likely that they can navigate and operate the internet and phone apps better than you can. When it comes to internet safety for kids, this can be a scary situation.

While this access to the internet is great for educational purposes, it can be difficult to monitor everything they’re doing. Especially when they have plenty of ways to access it, and plenty of ways to hide it.

So what can you do to help them stay out of dangerous situations, such as meeting strangers, giving away personal information, or cyberbullying? There are plenty of way to promote internet safety for kids, and also to allow them to access more productive and amazing opportunities online.

Effective Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

Just like bullying at school or on the playground, the internet is a place where your kids can easily get into situations you don’t want them in. We know you just want to keep them safe, which is why the first step you can take is to do a little research.

There are a few organizations dedicated to education about internet safety for you and for future generations. You can learn some helpful tips for talking to your kids, see what your state and country are doing about internet safety, and even get involved.

Promote Internet Safety for Kids | Thinkster Math

Once you’ve got a good idea about what to expect from the world wide web, you can then take steps to help your kids change the way they look at their phones, computers, tablets, and the concept of the internet as a whole.

Our advice when it comes to internet safety for kids is to divert and distract rather than restrict and prevent. It’s not just dangerous! The internet can also be extremely fun, informative, and creative for kids. It’s easier than ever for a child to learn how to code, edit videos, and be more involved in the community. The best solution for keeping them safely engaged online is to provide them with tasks, games, and opportunities that you know are better and safer, and will help them feel confident online.

Online Opportunities for Positive Internet Usage for Kids

Thanks to the internet’s ever-expanding reach, there are more online opportunities than ever before that you can get your kids and teens involved in. Heck, you can join in too and turn the internet from a potential danger into a way for you to grow closer with your children! Internet safety for kids isn’t just about building protections against the negative things, it’s also about teaching them the proper and productive use of an incredibly powerful and connecting tool.

Check out these creative and fun ways to get your children involved in their communities, learn new skills, and help with their college applications!

Volunteer

It’s never too late to teach your kids compassion and empathy. Every community is always looking for volunteers to help with events, and there are even more opportunities online for people needing writing, research, graphic design, and website building help.

Here are nine ways you can get your kids involved in some pretty amazing volunteer opportunities provided by DoSomething.org.

Just think how it will look on their college application that your child helped with a national website, cause, or live event!

Online tutoring

Does your teen excel in any particular areas of school? Do they have a knack for explaining things, or have a lot of patience with small children? We know better than anyone that online tutoring can be an extremely effective way to help children learn. On the tutoring side, we know that it can be rewarding and fun!

Tutoring online is a safe, fast, and sometimes lucrative way to get your high schooler involved with more than just school. Not only can they make some cash, depending on the program they use, but tutoring children in math, writing, reading, and other areas can teach them valuable skills like perseverance, teaching, and empathy.

Digital Safety for Kids | Thinkster Math

Here are a few great places you can look into for online tutoring, and Technomantic has curated a specific list of online tutoring jobs that pay well. This can be a great way for your teen to make a little extra cash, and we know they’ll enjoy the feeling of independence it can bring.

Creating Content

We know you’ve got creative kids. Whether they have a love of singing, composing, acting, doing sports, writing jokes, or anything else unique to them, we highly recommend you encourage them to show off.

Really. There’s no better way to show your kids that you think they’re awesome than to invite them to show their talents to the world. Offer to help them make videos, even if it’s just footage from their phone!

Creating Content | Internet Safety for Children | Thinkster Math

One extremely effective way to keep your kids safe online is to get them on the creating end rather than the consuming end. By focusing on making something for others to enjoy you can rest easy knowing they aren’t getting into the dangerous side of the internet.

Learn to Code

Learning to program is easier than ever these days! This is an extremely valuable skill that your child could turn into a lifelong career. By learning to create the internet, rather than just consume it, your child will be engaged and eager to make it a safer and better place for everyone!

You can ask your children if they’re interested in coding, and get them started as early as middle school. Make sure you do your research though, because there are some serious differences between online code schools.

Graphic Design

Just like coding, graphic and UX designers have the wonderful opportunity to create the internet. Graphic designers are constantly improving and beautifying the way we look at the internet, and your child could be the one to introduce a new concept or idea that quickly takes hold in the design space.

Get them started on graphic design by signing them up for some online classes!

Translate

Does your child speak a second language? First of all, good on you both for achieving this early on! Bilingual children and adults can have many opportunities for translating and can be paid higher in their work if the language they speak is frequently used.

A good way to get your kids involved in safe online activity is to have them translate documents, books, and web pages. They can do this on a volunteer basis, or get paid. Either way, they’ll enjoy practicing and using their languages, and you’ll be happy that they’re using their time well.

Get involved in local affairs

As we mention in our blog about extracurricular activities, one amazing way to get your child involved in their community is through the internet. You don’t have to physically go to charity drives or community outreach programs to become involved.

Postive Internet Usage for Kids | Thinkster Math

Ask your children if they’d like to write to their government officials, suggest change on government and local websites, or start a petition. By becoming interested in local politics and community affairs, your child may develop an interest in this as a future career.

Writing to local politicians can teach your child rhetorical skills, how to take an active role in their community, and will look amazing on a college application! Who knows, inviting your kids to get involved might just be the kick in the pants you need to learn a little about your local government as well.

Play Games

Maybe the last thing you want for your children is more screen time. However, we understand that in 2021 it can be hard to convince your kids that they should be doing anything else. After all, the internet has so much to offer and your kids likely already have their favorite sites and games.

Still, playing challenging, fun games online can be a much better option than scrolling through social media or talking to strangers. Take the time to do a little research and see if you can get your children interested in mind and strategy games like these.

Online games don’t have to always be about killing or mindless activities like farming or collecting. Consider your kids’ interests and we bet you can easily engage them in games designed to strengthen their minds and challenge their creativity.

How to Start the Conversation about Internet Safety for Kids

Despite your best efforts to divert and distract, your kids may still get into a little trouble online. It’s something you should consider and prepare for.

So, rather than confronting your child about their search history or their online friends, we suggest having a conversation with them about internet safety before things get out of hand. You can do the most damage control by setting clear expectations, letting your children know you do trust them, and helping them understand the true danger of online communication.

Start the Conversation | Internet Safety for Kids | Thinkster Math

Discuss things like:

  • How many hours a day are dedicated to games and the internet? Balance these hours with outdoor exercise, schooling, and family time.
  • Which websites are safe to use, and what does an online predator look like? How can your kids spot them and avoid doing things like giving away personal information, posting unsafe images, and setting up meetings with strangers?
  • What do your kids want to get out of their internet use? Can they use it as a tool to learn, grow, and improve as a person? How can you choose specific ways to accomplish their goals?
  • Use a kid-friendly browser
  • Use passwords to prevent them from going to websites that you don’t trust, and make sure they know to never share the password with anyone.

Once you set some boundaries you can feel safe knowing your kids have clear expectations, and you can check in with them every now and then to make sure they’re staying on track.

A Great Way to Stay Focused

School is the biggest part of your child’s life right now, and is likely something that’s constantly on their mind. If they are already fairly inclined to spend a lot of their time online, you can consider getting them additional help with online tutoring.

Math can be difficult for so many children, but you can kill two birds with one stone by dedicating a few of their internet hours to improving in math with online math tutoring. By the time they have to go back to math classes in the fall, they can feel confident knowing they have retained more from previous classes, and excited to get back into it!

The internet is full of both good and bad but we are confident that, using these tips and tricks, you can keep your children safe and engaged online!

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