Explaining the internet to children for those born when the www practically did not exist is very difficult. But it is we, the generation of "digital non-natives" who have the task of doing it. We who must, with patience and prudence but without fear, enter the swamps of social media, face the waves of the web and fight against the demons of cyberbullying .
But how do you explain something that, at times, it is difficult to understand? Because it is impossible for an adult to really understand phenomena such as blue whale or sexting , to understand how a 10-year-old girl can choke in a bathroom while engaged in a TikTok challenge or accept that a kid lives so (hyper) connected that decide not to leave the house "forever".
How to explain the internet to children?
Many ask this question because many use the web without fully understanding its dynamics. Especially when it comes to social media and related risks, it is also important to ask ourselves how to explain the internet without ending up in prohibition or psychological terrorism.
But above all risks that end up leading to another risk - and pardon the pun! - much greater: the loss of credibility of the parent in the eyes of the child . Because when dealing with children the biggest fear is to scare them but with adolescents and pre-adolescents the problem is to end up appearing to them simply as those who "Judge and do not understand!".
Which already, we know well, is inherent in their age.
Here, without claiming to have all the answers, today I feel like sharing with you some tips "from my eyes" to explain the internet to children. For nerdy tips instead I leave you the link of one article dedicated to how to block adult sites and protect the little ones in navigation.
There is only one way to explain the dangers of the Internet to children: to be there with them. Accompany them step by step in that world that we, adults, touch without reflecting too much on. Explore the dynamics of that new social network with our children , peek at the trends with them , get to know their idols and talk.
Talking to them, always, is the thing that makes the difference.
But if you don't know where to start, here are three tips to explain what internet safety means for children and teenagers.
Talk to your children about the web, discuss it at dinner, make them think. But, if you have teenagers at home, do not cling to positions of "it is dangerous" or "social networks are useless".
Because they are not (useless, social networks!, Indeed!) And above all because they are a fundamental part of THEIR lives, of boys (ni). Precisely for this reason we parents must be (also) there with them.
If they are young, discuss these issues with them, perhaps taking advantage of what is done at school or with books chosen ad hoc for their age. If they are older, let them explain how that new social network works so cool and while they do it let them reflect on why "they can't do without it".
Be there, with them, ready to discuss, open to discussion. It is their world, it is impossible for them to stay out of it, the challenge is to make them stay there in a conscious way.
If you care about internet safety for children**, lead by example** . What would you like your children to share / not share on the web? What do you need to pay attention to?
Show them by example!
Because yes, we parents are “grown-ups” and “we know how to manage” even any mistakes but THEY (our children) BELIEVE themselves capable of doing it, just as much as we are. Especially if they are teenagers!
And one who is on the “www” h/24 and 7/7 tells you! One tells you that she has peeked at student accounts - and not - wondering if that shy little girl at school she realized she too was so beautiful (and provocative) in that pose. Or if that kid knew that that stunt proudly displayed on her account could one day cost him dearly in a careful selection process.
Our children cannot have access to everything . Our children cannot be left alone in front of the sea magnum of the web. No, it is not a question of denying but of understanding.
Understand that depending on their chronological (and emotional) age children / teenagers can understand differently and be exposed to different things. And sometimes they have to be protected. With us. Because they don't know how to do it on their own. Because while in the calm sea you can splash around without worries to " surf " certain waves, first you have to learn to swim.
For these, parental control systems are important . This is why it is important to make them understand that there are rules . Explaining the internet to children also means explaining these concepts and their motivations.
The web for those who want to find out is full of resources. Our children already know this, so do we. It is only a question of finding the right resources for the safety of children online and starting from those to stimulate that dialogue which is fundamental.
If you have young children, I would like to point out, for example, Google's Interland . Do you know what it is?
Interland is an interactive game created by Google to teach children to surf the web with greater awareness. It is part of the "Live Internet at the Best" project and was developed in collaboration with Altroconsumo and the Fondazione Mondo Digitale, to spread the basic principles of Digital Civic Education.
There are 4 areas and each one allows children to learn more about the web and its mechanisms: the Treasure Tower, the Responsible Mountain, the Cortese Kingdom and the River of Reality. Each of these aims to develop in children the skills necessary for a conscious digital citizenship: learning to manage personal information, knowing how to distinguish true from false, spreading kindness and knowing how to relate to adults in case of difficulty.
If you don't know it, you can access the Google Interland game by clicking here: it is a way to explain the dangers of the internet in a simple way to the little ones. If your children are older, however, it may be a good time to talk to them about Internet Safer Day.
Do you know what I'm talking about?
This day is celebrated all over the world on February 9 and reminds us of the importance of engaging the Internet so that it is truly a safe logo full of opportunities for all.
Internet Safer Day is therefore the day dedicated to the positive use of the Internet, because there is a lot of positive in the web, we must never forget to tell the kids when we go to explain the internet and its dangers! The MIUR every year proposes and sponsors some very interesting initiatives, from there you can start to establish a true and fruitful dialogue with them. Again click on the link to find out more.
Here, my advice on how to explain the internet to children ends here. If you think it might be useful to others, share this post and follow us on Facebook.
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