I absolutely love all the resources that can be found for kids online. There are endless educational websites, games, and apps for every subject you want your kids to learn. I have also noticed teachers sending home recommendations with their students for websites to help supplement what they are already learning in the classroom. This is exciting! Kids love to play games, and what better way to teach children than to give them a fun, educational game to play?
Because of how much more children are online now, safety is a HUGE concern. The internet is downright awesome, but our world has it's fair share of hooligans and riff-raff, and the internet is no exception. I want my children to have GOOD, CLEAN, FUN online! The internet, while being a wonderful resource for children, can also be very dangerous and expose children to inappropriate , dumb and just plain nasty content. Filters are great, but can sometimes be bypassed by very smart kids. My nephew recently bought and downloaded and entire series of his favorite cartoon from his mom’s tablet. He’s 6! While my sister laughs about it now, she knows he’s capable of more than she thought, so she’s more careful now!
Here are some great online safety tips for kids to follow when allowing your kids into the online world:
Install good filters. Filter out the yuck so you can enjoy the awesome! Find an internet filter that meets your families needs. After you install it on your computer, make sure you go into the settings and adjust the parental controls to fit the level of security you feel is right for your family.
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
Be Present. My kids are getting really smart! They know when I’m multi-tasking or really focusing on them. Spend time sitting by your child while they are online and teach them how to be safe and what websites are appropriate. You’ll have some one on one time with your child, and they will know online safety is important to you because you took the time to teach them. Eventually, you can let them do it on their own. If they have a good relationship with you, they will be more likely to come to you when they have something negative happen online.
Privacy. You most likely teach your child to give you privacy every now and then (ahem, hence, my time outs in a locked bathroom!) Online privacy is just as, if not more, important! Teach them to never share personal information like their phone number, email address, first and last name, etc. unless they first clear it with you.
Appropriate behavior. With older children, it’s important that they know how to respond to inappropriate emails, texts or messages. It’s better to not respond to rudeness or cyber bullying, and to just delete unwanted texts or emails. They should never text or post something online that they wouldn’t feel comfortable saying face to face.
Crash and tell. Teach them how to shut off the screen immediately if they see something bad, and come and get you. If this happens, praise your child for telling you and then talk about what happened and how to avoid it in the future if possible.
Create a SAFE ZONE. Make sure your computer is in a place in your home that gets lots of traffic. Avoid places where children can close doors and be alone. The kitchen or family room are good places. Children are less likely to sneak onto inappropriate sites if they know someone could walk by at any moment and see. Filters are essential and great, but not fail proof. Be especially careful with tablets and smaller devices that can be carried off and out of your site. Be aware at all times of where your kids are when they are online.
Following these online safety tips for kids has made online time more fun and less stressful at our house. Now, to just get them to eat their vegetables….!
Looking for fun and educational games for your child?
I had the wonderful opportunity of being introduced to a wonderful website and game created in partnership with National Geographic. It’s called Animal Jam!
I recently gave my sister a subscription for my nieces and nephews to try out the game and they love it! I love National Geographic so I expected nothing less than the best from them. Here’s a description of the website:
“Animal Jam is a safe and exciting online playground for kids who love animals and the outdoors. Players create and customize their own animal characters and dens, chat with friends, adopt pets, team up for adventures, and feed their curiosity about animals and the natural world around them.
Created in partnership with National Geographic, Animal Jam features classic playground role playing infused with the life sciences. Players can collect fun facts in their Journey Books, learn about Animal Conservation in Kimbara Outback, and ask real scientists questions, like herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr and marine biologist Tierney Thys.”
I asked my sister what her and her kids thought about the game, and this is what she said:
My kids love how fun this game is, and I love that they are learning about science! I’m especially impressed by the safety features. The website developers have gone to great lengths to make a safe environment for kids to play in, an they are constantly monitoring it to make sure it stays that way! Safety options are constantly being optimized based on parent feedback. Yay for me! My kids had so much fun, I ended up setting up individual accounts and then setting the timer for each of them so they could all have a turn.
This Post is Sponsored by Animal Jam. All opinions are my own.