Throughout the pandemic, schools and other learning institutes have turned to online and remote means to continue the education of their students. Other parents have opted out of enrolling entirely and have had their kids home-schooled or self-taught instead. But with technology and the internet now being the only means to teach children, the lines between work and play are often blurred. After all, when sites like YouTube or Facebook or online games are only one click away, it can be easy for impressionable young minds to get distracted.
In recent times, the internet has genuinely proven itself a capable and effective tool in educating all ages, be it children or even adults. But it can just as quickly prove detrimental, too, as you could easily fall prey to fake news sites and other shady sources. And no one is more vulnerable on the internet than minors and young children who discover it for the first time. Yes, the internet can be a scary place for a kid. But with the proper supervision, it might just become a place of learning and life lessons instead.
So how do we stop the internet from becoming a distraction and effectively turn it into a tool for learning?
Make sure that they’re taking the right courses
It can be hard to discern anyone’s true intentions online. Nowadays, there are so many online classes and courses to choose from. For example, sites like esltutoringservices.com can provide a customized learning plan based on your child’s needs. But how do you know which ones are the best? Always make sure to look up just what the class entails or what it requires before enrolling. You don’t want to end up doing something you didn’t want to sign up for. At the same time, you want to make sure that your child is taking the right kind of classes.
Do your research on the school, the website, and the classes offered. Search for reviews from clients of the specific school or course if there are any available. The suitable courses will be educational and will also be engaging enough that the child won’t get bored or turn to other distractions. Just as you would consider the school you’re enrolling your child in, so too should you view online classes and courses with a discerning eye.
Limit the sites they can visit
If just telling your child not to open any games or social media sites worked, you wouldn’t need this list. If your child still finds it hard to resist the urge to open a new tab and just go on YouTube, you can easily block sites that can be distracting in the settings of any web browser or set limits on them, so they can only use them for a set period every day. As an incentive, you can lift the block and let them go to any site they want when they’re done with classes. You can’t always stop them from doing what they want, but you can ensure they’re not going to any harmful sites.
Check the communities they interact with
Social media sites like Twitter and even Facebook can be harmful to children of a certain age, especially with the added concern of anonymity. Thus, you’ll never really know if the people your child interacts with are the same age as them or much older. In general, it might be best to steer them away from creating their own social media accounts if they’re in their pre-teen years. Or, at the very least, monitor or restrict the sites they can visit.
If you don’t want to be too restrictive, you can allow them some freedom to browse social media independently but limit the times they can use it and make sure that they don’t spend all day on them. Ensure that the friends they’re interacting with are ones you know or have seen in person or from their online meetings. We can never really keep them from specific communities on the internet without coming off as overprotective but remember that we do have some level of control when it comes to their internet access.
Encourage their curiosity
Instead of brushing them off or telling them to look it up themselves when your child asks you a question about something, take the time to show them how to do it. Open up Google, tell them to type in their question, and choose the results you think would give them the answer to their question. Not only does this show them which sites can be trusted to provide them with good answers and which sites to avoid, but it also shows them how to look it up themselves without your supervision. Encourage that curious streak in them, and in time, they’ll learn to do their own studying and educate themselves. If you take the time to teach them about the technology they use, they might even develop an interest in it. As long as you instilled the right morals in them, they’ll listen.
Take frequent breaks
It’s not just adults who feel the weight of this pandemic. Children’s mental health has also taken a toll amid the pandemic. Just as you would step away from the computer when the Zoom fatigue starts to hit, your child must get tired after a full day of online classes too. Keeping their online environment conclusive to learning may be essential, but it’s also important to let them have fun every once in a while. So long as you’re aware of the kind of sites they visit, the games they play, and the online interactions they have, you can let your child be a child once all their work is done.
Creating a safe environment for children on the internet is all about responsibility. In this digital age, telling kids to stay off the internet simply isn’t going to work anymore or is counterproductive to their learning process. They need the internet just as much as adults do, so the responsibility of creating safe communities where they can learn, pursue their interests, and have fun falls on the shoulders of adults. The truth is that you can’t shelter your kids forever, but you can use the time to equip them with the right morals and skills and ensure that they’re ready for what the world has in store for them.