As a parent, we only ever want what’s best for our children, that’s why we worry about them so much. Aside from worrying about their health and education, one of the things many parents worry about most is their child using the internet.

Don’t get me wrong here, the internet is an amazing resource – I would be totally lost without it (as would most bloggers). But for children, the internet can be an incredibly dangerous and damaging place. That’s why it is so important that as parents, we monitor our children’s internet usage and teach them about internet safety from a young age.

Recently, one of the boys asked me whether it would be okay to play games on the computer – he had apparently played online games at a friends house and now wanted to do the same at home.

On hearing this, I was stuck between feeling annoyed that another parent had allowed my son on the internet without asking me and worried about him using the internet. But, I realised that as he gets older he will be exposed to the internet more and more, and the best thing to do would be to teach him about internet safety.

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Picture from Flickr

In case you want to teach your child about internet safety, I thought I would share my tips below:

Learn all you can about the internet

Before talking to your child about internet safety, aim to learn as much about the internet as possible. If you don’t use the internet yourself, you will struggle to effectively teach your child how to stay safe online.

If you are familiar with the internet and understand how it works, etc. you will be able to help your child to stay safe more easily. If you aren’t a confident internet user, why not ask a friend or relative for help with getting to grips with it.

Start by setting rules

The first step to keeping your child safe online is setting rules. Sit down with your child and create a list of the things they can and cannot do online. As part of this you could create a list of websites that they are allowed to go on, such as Playberry or Penguin Club for playing games.

Create the rules list with your child, listen to their ideas and take them onboard. For each rule you put in place, ask your child if they understand it by getting them to explain the rule to you.

Explain to your child why certain sites are off limits

Instead of just telling your child that certain sites are off limits, explain to them why each site is not appropriate for them.

If you don’t give your child a reason they can’t visit a certain site, their curiosity may get the better of them. So always make sure always to give your child a reason that they can’t use certain websites.

Teach your child the importance of keeping personal details private

The best way to teach your child not to share personal information online is to tell them the truth. Explain that sometimes bad people use the internet and if personal details are shared online, these people might be able to find your family.

Tell your child that even if someone who says they are his or her age and asks for personal information, they should never answer and must always tell you about it straight away.