The Internet is definitely a World Wide Web that has stretched its sticky strands across almost every aspect of modern life. It is an unlimited source of information and tools which are invaluable in conducting business and attaining personal goals. The Web is also filled with dark spiders in the form of predators, scammers, and hackers. Regardless, this is journey your child will be taking at some point in their life sooner or later, so the best idea is to be proactive before they learn on their own.
What is the best age to start teaching them? You might want to time your lesson to coincide with their entry into kindergarten. This is around the age they begin to think more abstractly, and school will probably be introducing them to computers as well.
Introducing the Computer
Computers are now in many forms – desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphones, even refrigerators, and televisions – so your children will be surrounded by them, but we recommend you start them with the basics, a desktop computer. This will help them to understand the basics of hardware and software.
Start by teaching them to correctly turn the computer on and off. It sounds trivial but safely shutting down the computer is important to avoid damaging it. Next, you will teach them to use the mouse and keyboard, and how to open applications. As they begin to explore, do it side by side. Do not forget the speech about keeping balance and not getting so involved that they lose their humanity.
Help them understand computers are more than just a social portal. They are helpful tools and something to be comfortable with since it will be part of everyday life. Give them respect for the power, but do not let them get overwhelmed. It is like teaching them to ride a bike. You start by hanging on to the seat and let them go more and more. Give them a little independence and guide them in a way that will keep their respect and trust.
Wiggling The Strands
Once your child learns about the machine, the hardware, they will need to learn about the software. Teach them the difference between the attractive flashing advertisements and regular content. Show them what search engines, websites, and blogs are and how to use them responsibly. You will also want to impress on them the importance of staying secure online. Learn about data encryption and internet security. Children who are ignorant victims will become adults who are ignorant victims.
Remember, you are the person who knows your child the best. You will know the amount of guidance and monitoring they need. Focus on how mature your child is, and the emotional and psychological state of your child.
Watching For Spiders
The Internet was aptly named the World Wide since it has a beautiful, vast construction. There are millions of people contributing. Most of them are good, well-meaning people who want to share information or provide a little entertainment, but there are definitely people out there who’s only intent is to harm or at least take advantage of innocent people, including children. Your child needs to be aware of these spiders and be prepared in case they encounter them.
Protecting your child and teaching how to deal with pornography or cyberbullies is an important step before they venture out on their own online. Help them how the ‘dark side’ works, which sites to avoid, what kind of company to keep, and what kind of people they should ignore. If someone says something or shows them something which is not appropriate, they should immediately log off and tell an adult.
You may want to monitor them for awhile until they learn how to maneuver their way through these sticky strands on their own. You do not need to spy on them. Be honest and upfront so your child will feel safe, to be honest as well. Let them know they are being monitored for their own safety, and it is only until they have learned how to use the internet on their own.
By the time your children become teenagers, they should be fine since you taught them so well when they were young. Remind them to use real-world common sense when dealing with people online. Do not click on something just because it is pretty and flashing. Make sure they know not to blindly trust anyone, do not lie about who they are and on the same account, do not give out any personal information. They should not let people pressure them into doing anything and never do anything online that you would not do in real life. Once you have taught them well, you can be confident your child will be safe online, and they will enjoy the self-confidence of knowing that you trust them.