Advice according to the child’s age

How old is your child?

How old are your children?

Learn more according to your children’s age and advise them accordingly:

up to 7 years old

Preschool age children, up to 7 years old

Preschool age children like routine and “order” and this is the ideal age to develop safe use practices for younger children. At this stage the family can set the first family rules for computer use.

  • The time spent on the computer should be limited and pre-agreed
  • Help your children find appropriate material, guide them to websites that convert learning into a game and games into learning
  • Locate the computer in the living room or a room that the whole family uses so as to have supervision
  • Children can have access to specific pre-agreed internet web pages.
8-10 years old

School-age children, up to 10 years old

Children develop an interest for mobile phones and the internet well before they come in contact with them. Although they frequently have critical perception and judgment, that does not mean they can manage all of the material available to them, especially where it is inappropriate.

This is why we, as parents, need to:

  • Provide time to discuss correct internet use with the children
  • Sit with them during their first steps and teach them responsible internet and mobile phone use
  • Set the rules of use early on and discuss them. These rules will be adapted according to the children’s ages.

The basic rules for school children follow. If they are discussed early on, there will not be any objections in their implementation later on:

  • Parents should be sufficiently well informed to be able to install virus protection programs and inappropriate content blocking software themselves
  • At home, children should only use the internet in the presence of their parents, so that they are available if any problem arises
  • At ages when the children are not yet in a position to evaluate the reliability of a certain site they should first ask for their parents’ permission before making their information public
  • If a child at this age wants to use an email address, it is a good idea that s/he has a common family email address available. At this age we should not encourage children to have personal contacts or individual communication over the internet
  • Opening a user account for a child with restricted user rights can help the child learn how to use the computer independently
  • Ask your children not to give the secret PIN number of their mobile phone to anyone they are not familiar with, only to family members
  • Parents and children should agree on what they can and cannot do and in what way they can use the internet and the mobile phone. E.g., you should discuss what responsibilities are assumed by a person who sends a message or downloads files, etc
  • If the child is interested in internet conversations and contacts, the parents should be in a position to supervise them and discuss security matters with their child

When saying NO does not help!

The child has an intense social life at this age over the mobile phone and the internet. S/he meets friends, exchanges text messages, talks, maybe even posts photos, while also looking for information for his/her homework and interests. Technical restrictions and prohibitions are not as effective.

Parents need to respect the child’s initiatives and autonomy and to discreetly supervise and assure their child’s safety.

  • Family rules that are jointly agreed continue to be necessary. How much time should the child spend in front of the computer? How much talk time and how many text messages are permitted on the mobile phone? These matters should be discussed from the outset
  • Prohibitions are meaningless, while suggestions and discussions about privacy matters are more valuable
  • The internet provides parents with the opportunity to teach the very significant concept of personal responsibility
  • Teach your children personal responsibility by setting specific boundaries:
    • The child shall have X amount available each month for their mobile phone and must adhere to it
    • The child should download legal files from the internet, not indulge in piracy and violate intellectual property rights
    • The child should responsibly manage his/her own personal data and protect it from third and unknown parties.
  • Even the child’s “internet contacts” are of concern to parents. In particular, they should care whether their child wishes to meet new people via the Internet
  • It is helpful to “listen” to the child, so s/he understands that you are there for him/her. S/he should feel free to say anything and that you will not react extremely, but will listen with interest and attention
  • Sometimes parents overreact when they discover their children’s traces on the internet. Instead of “threatening” or “punishing” the child you should guide him/her to web pages and internet addresses with useful material and positive content on matters that interest your child
  • Encourage your children to develop critical judgment and to evaluate the content of every piece of information
  • Spend time with the child to discuss various matters regarding their internet behaviour.

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