Assistance: my child has discovered the Internet, what now?

Help: mijn kind heeft het Internet ontdekt, wat nu?

Children are encountering the internet at increasingly younger ages. The little ones are fully engaged with tablets, phones, and computers. It's not surprising when you consider that the world is at their fingertips thanks to the worldwide web. Research shows that screen time among young children is on the rise. And more screen time could mean that your little explorer embarks on an online adventure. What are the pros and cons of internet use, and how can you, as a parent, handle it? You'll find out in this blog.

The benefits of the internet for children

The internet is a place where the world is within reach. With just one click, your child can find information on any topic. The internet offers numerous interactive learning and gaming websites that promote skills like language, math, and reading. More and more schools are using these handy tools to teach children. Additionally, your child can connect with a large number of people. Has your child ever talked about Enzo Knol or MeisjeDjamila? That's not uncommon, as these YouTubers are very popular among youth. With around 2.8 million subscribers, you can quickly connect with many different people through Enzo Knol's YouTube channel.

By the way, did you know that Kadoing also has its own YouTube channel with Animated Blogs and Children's Songs?

The risks of the internet for children

The internet isn't all fun and games. Your children are also at risk. Too much internet use is detrimental to your child's health. With increased screen time, children are moving less, which is detrimental to their physical health. Additionally, excessive screen time can strain the eyes and lead to sleep problems if children spend too much time on computers or smartphones in the evening. In addition to health risks, your child may also encounter inappropriate or unsafe content. This can have adverse effects on your child's mental and emotional well-being, possibly making them feel negative or exhibit inappropriate behavior. Because young children often find it difficult to understand the risks, they are vulnerable to cybercrime or online bullying. Opening an unsafe link or sending a photo can quickly have unpleasant consequences for our little ones and ourselves.

5 tips to keep your child safe on the internet

The internet is a wonderful but also risky place to go on an adventure. Fortunately, as a parent, you can do a lot to reduce risks for your little one. With these five tips, you can prevent clicking on the wrong page.
  1. Ensure controlled use: Set clear rules with your children about when they can use the internet. Do this at times when you, as a parent, can monitor what your child is doing.
  2. Teach your children the risks: Talk to your children about the risks of online behavior. For the youngest, this may be a bit more difficult. For them, parental supervision is more important. From around age seven, you can easily explain that they should never open links or send photos.
  3. Encourage offline activities: By regularly playing outdoors with your children or providing alternative toys, you increase the chance that your child spends less time surfing the internet. For example, by building a tower with wooden blocks outside, your child is engaged without needing a screen. And no internet means less screen time. A win-win.
  4. Use parental control tools: Internet browsers and computer companies like Microsoft, Google, and YouTube are increasingly building tools into their software for parental control. These options can block specific websites or set a limit on daily usage. For example, there's YouTube Kids to help parents control what their child can watch or see.
  5. Be consistent yourself: Children often follow their parents' example. If you're not very computer-focused in front of your children, your child will follow that example. For example, you can choose to actively play with your child.

How do you keep your child safe on the internet?

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