How to educate children on the use of the Internet: 10 tips
The Internet and the new information and communication technologies are recently emerged elements that have nevertheless completely transformed society. Nowadays most young people see almost inconceivable a world without WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube. But although today's children are born in a world where these applications, social networks and technologies are ubiquitous , they are not born knowing how to use them, and although they are powerful and very useful tools that make life and communication easier, they also have their risks.
Therefore, it is necessary to teach children to use them. How to educate children on the use of the Internet to make good use of this resource? In this article we propose to offer some guidelines and advice in this regard.
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Many of us remember a time in our life when the Internet was a concept completely unknown to the majority of the population. Even for those of us who were born in the 90s, when the subject was already a little more developed, it was something new and strange to what we had to adapt at the time. Other people saw him being born in later moments of their lives, having greater complications to understand its operation.
Since then the network of networks has evolved in an incredible way , increasing its potential and allowing the emergence of multiple technologies and basic applications in our day to day. Children today are already digital natives (concept proposed by Prensky in 2001), born in an environment in which new technologies are already fully integrated. This fact makes that there are differences with respect to past generations, even at the neurological level.
They have greater ability to multitask, greater flexibility and greater decision-making capacity, but at the same time less memory capacity, less perseverance and less ability to delay gratifications and results.
How to educate children on the use of the Internet
Networks are a powerful tool that facilitates multiple tasks and communication at a distance, but they also have a dark side. The fraudulent use of networks, online scams, cybercriminals , grooming and cyberbullying are examples of this. Learning to use new technologies is essential to be able to make good use of them. And that is why below we indicate a series of tips to help educate in its use ..
When it comes to educating children and adolescents in the use of new technologies we have to take into account a very relevant factor: while many of us have seen the birth of the Internet as something that has happened throughout our lives, the new generations have been born with them as an element present throughout the world . For them it is something that is natural and intuitive.
2. Update yourself
The technology advances very quickly, and it would be advisable that we should be informed of the characteristics of the novelties and the different networks in order to be able to educate with knowledge of the cause. It is fundamentally about being updated and know the type of digital environments they inhabit and the connections they have today . For example, it is not the same to use places where the very young are the majority, like Instagram or Curiouscat.me, than internet forums about philosophy or technology.
3. Talk about their risks
Networks are something that is taken for granted and there is generally a great perception of security around them. It is necessary to explain to minors that although they have many advantages, they also have their risks, and expose them clearly. It's not about being scared without foundation , but to show that there are important risks.
4. Do not prohibit the use of the network
As we mentioned before, the use of information and communication technologies or ICT is an element present in our lives, and in the case of current children since birth. Some people may think that prohibiting their use can be a way to avoid possible misuses and problems. However, this is an almost ubiquitous tool in our day to day and it is advisable to learn to manage promptly. Prohibiting would only make the child not aware of how it works and if he were to use them they could run a much greater danger due to ignorance. We must supervise, not prohibit.
5. Generate limits and rules of use
Not prohibiting does not imply against the uncontrolled use of the networks by the minor.It is necessary to establish norms and schedules of use, especially when children are small, in order to learn to balance the use of networks with other activities, both duties and obligations as leisure forms.
6. Navigating together
The best way to teach is to set an example. Surfing the net with children and showing them different technologies, applications, games and information can be a way to let them see the wonders of technology while being educated on how to use it. In addition, it means sharing a moment with children that can be a source of learning, fun and strengthening links.
7. The role of privacy
Although partly associated with the risk point, this element stands out as fundamental and one of the most important consequences. Making them understand what privacy is and the importance of each of the data they publish, what should or should not be published and the associated risks and how to protect that privacy is one of the fundamental aspects for the education and protection of minors in relation to virtual environments.
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8. Parental control
The creation of safe virtual environments is appropriate in young children, in such a way that contents that might be offensive or traumatic for minors are blocked.
Another aspect of great relevance is the fact that the adult, family member or caregiver in charge of the child is interested in their activity in the network. Not invasive or demanding, but communicative and in the form of support. Many problems in the network are not communicated to the parents because of fear or shame, when our help could help solve problems that may arise . The type of relationship we establish with the relationship between the child and the networks can greatly influence the level of trust and the communication of problems in that area.
10. Respect your privacy
As they grow, children will increasingly demand greater privacy and privacy. Reviewing the text messages they receive or their Facebook is not pleasant for virtually any teenager and can generate a perception of distrust towards him or her.