Parenting tips for online learning

AS schools turn to cyberspace to make remote teaching possible, parents are suddenly forced to embrace distance learning and assume added responsibilities with their child’s schooling. Here are five things parents need to know to prepare themselves as they weave family life into their child’s home learning with online safety in mind:

1. COMMUNICATE. In the most recent survey conducted by multinational cyber-security specialist and antivirus provider Kaspersky, it was revealed that the majority of parents (58 percent) have spent less than 30 minutes talking to their children about online safety throughout their kids’ childhood.

As parents of today’s digital kids, you can do more. Laying down clear-cut rules and discussing these with your child from the get-go is a good start. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your kid/s to explain the family guidelines on behaving online and engaging in online activities such as signing up on web sites, making online purchases, downloading music or video files, or joining chat or messaging rooms.

Some activities pose security risks if children are not made aware of possible dangerous outcomes—confidential login details or financial data used in online shopping may be used fraudulently. Children may also unknowingly download materials from torrent sites which may come with free malware that can wreak havoc on one’s device.

2. SURF TOGETHER. One of the key findings in Kaspersky’s survey showed that 50 percent of parents manually check their children’s devices to look through browsing history after use. Parents may think that doing so is alright, but children may feel otherwise. Building mutual trust is possible when parents spend time online with their children, particularly during online learning sessions. This is important as parents teach their kids how to explore the Internet safely, and how to use this platform for studying online and socializing with friends, classmates and teachers.

It’s also advisable to keep devices out in the open, placed in communal spaces around the house to help parents stay on top of any potential issues. Doing so also prompts children to self-check because of an adult’s presence within the space.

3. LIMIT ONLINE TIME. The Web is so named because it’s like a web. Or a maze, and anyone can get lost in it. Kids can get distracted from schoolwork, or they can have extended screen time past their school hours at home. They can become endlessly glued on to their devices if they are unmonitored.

Set boundaries by scheduling their time on their screen and going offline. One good way is to set off the alarm to alert you and your child. Kaspersky’s survey results show that a quarter (26 percent) of children experienced being addicted to the Internet. This has often led to kids clamming up emotionally and socially, displaying irritability or signs of depression when not online. Other children even sacrifice sleep to spend an extra hour online. Setting boundaries will help keep your child from spending too much time playing games or watching videos rather than studying. Besides needing boundaries, kids thrive better with a good balance of activities to enjoy a healthy childhood despite this pandemic situation.

4. DEBRIEF DAILY. Oftentimes, search results for study purposes don’t exactly lead to the kind of information one is looking for. A child might make an innocent search for a school topic but may find mature content intended for adults.

Children seeing harmful content online (27 percent) is the top online threat that families have reported experiencing, based on a Kaspersky survey released in Q4 of 2019. Among the dangerous things that kids encounter on social media are sexting and cyberbullying. In a previous international survey from Global Kids Online, a third of children in the Philippines have been reported to having seen sexual images throughout 2018. Spending a few minutes with your child before bed each day, talking about their good and bad encounters, including their online activities, will help normalize the conversation.

5. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Kaspersky suggests for parents to catch up with the cyber world and to plan their conversations with their children ahead of time. There are also advanced solutions, like Kaspersky Total Security 2020 which is loaded with the Safe Kids feature to help parents protect their kids when online.

Parents will appreciate the security solution’s adult-site blocker, screen-time manager, app-use controls and social-network tracker (because kids now have their own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!). With the GPS child-locator in Kaspersky Total Security 2020, parents can even check their kid’s location and find out if the child steps beyond the safe area specified.

“In one of the surveys in the past where children were asked globally, 75 percent of the kids said they’d feel safer if they could speak with their parents about online dangers. Again, we start by educating ourselves and choosing the correct tools to help us and kids each to stay safe online,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

The single-user license of Kaspersky Total Security 2020 retails for P1,390. It is now available in all major IT stores nationwide.

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