6. Be clever about clicksExplain to your child why he shouldn’t open files or click on links unless they are from a known source. This is a great time to talk about how viruses can harm the computer. Another option is to allow your pre-schooler to surf only one site at a time — if he wants to navigate to a new site, ask that he asks you or an older family member for help.7. Use a child-safe appTry the Kido’z app (http://kidoz.net/) – designed specifically for pre-schoolers, the app turns all smartphones, tablets or computers into kid-friendly devices. Parental controls let you toggle between online/offline mode, set time limits and manage what your child can or cannot see or do online. Best of all, you can set up a custom profile for each child. Other PC options include NetNanny, Norton Family and Kaspersky PURE.
The key is to establish your expectations and limits clearly and specify what the consequences are if your child breaks the rules. It is a good idea to explain to your child that you have installed parental controls and why – trust is the cornerstone of any relationship, including your relationship with your child. If you keep the lines of communication open and are consistent in your approach (don’t forget to set a good example), your child will quickly learn how to become a responsible online citizen. These are good habits that will carry on through his primary and secondary school years – by laying a good foundation early in life you will be saving yourself a headache later!
Child-friendly sites and apps Unsure of where to get started? Try these child-friendly and educational options.• http://www.netsmartzkids.org/Games, e-books, videos and more, dedicated to promoting child safety online.
• http://www.storyplace.org/Interactive online reading with activities and more with a special section dedicated to pre-schoolers.
• http://www.uptoten.com/Games and activities for children up to 10 years of age – there’s plenty here for your six-year-old!