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Parents' role in keeping kids on the right path in cyberspace

The virtual world can be as daunting as it is exciting for parents who want their children to reap the benefits of the Internet, while staying safe and secure. To keep the good and avoid the bad, here are five tips on how parents can inspire their children to develop safe online habits:

KEEP ABREAST OF DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY

Step into cyberspace and keep up with changes in technology. In this way, you will be aware of the types of content available online, both the positive and negative aspects. Staying updated is the key to having meaningful conversations about online safety, especially when you gain your child's trust and become the go-to person for advice.


NEVER TOO EARLY TO START

Start getting involved when your children are is at an early age by showing an interest in what they do online, just as you would offline.

Explore the virtual world together to learn the benefits and potential dangers. Discuss what they should do if they see something that makes them feel uncomfortable or upset.


SET THE GROUND RULES

Set, explain and agree on boundaries, including conditions of Internet access, time allowed on the Internet and types of information that are okay for sharing.


MAKE USE OF PARENTAL-CONTROL TOOLS

Shut out undesirable online content with parental control tools. Major Web browsers and services come with parental controls that you can configure to limit access to only family-friendly content.

If you want to filter content across devices, apps and browsers with minimal configuration, check with your telco on the network-based services they offer.

For instance, StarHub offers its customers JuniorProtect Basic to block harmful online content at the network level before it reaches their mobile or home broadband connections.

More information is available at starhub.com/juniorprotect.

SCREEN-FREE TIME FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES

Finally, set aside time for screen-free activities, which promote development of social and motor skills.

Brought to you by StarHub
Presenting sponsor of the ST Digital Awards 2016

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'Parents' role in keeping kids on the right path in cyberspace'. Print Edition | Subscribe