The Covid-19 pandemic changed the world. For the first time in history, people around the world were forced to remain indoors. Kenya was no different. The government encouraged Kenyans to try as much as possible to work from their homes.
At some point, schools were shut and kids were forced to remain home with their parents. But it was also during those turbulent times that something good came up; the realization to capitalize on technology. Virtually everything went online.
The truth is, the pandemic made many of us connect via online platforms. Our kids got an opportunity to remain in touch with what was happening too. Some went online for classes and some to connect with their friends.
There is no doubt that being connected helps children and teenagers reduce the impact of this new normal and encourages them to continue with their lives. But it also presents a new set of challenges for every parent.
But how do you make sure that as a parent, your children are safe online?
Communicate with them
Have an honest dialogue with your children about who they communicate with and how. Make sure they understand the value of kind and supportive interactions and that means, discriminatory or inappropriate contact is never acceptable.
If your children experience any of these, encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult immediately. Be alert if your child appears to be upset or secretive with online activities or if they are experiencing cyberbullying.
Know about technology, use it to protect them
Check that your child’s device is running the latest software and antivirus programs, and that privacy settings are on. Keep webcams covered when not in use. For younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help keep online experiences positive.
Spend time with your kids online
Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family, and you. Connecting with others is more important than ever at the moment and this can be an excellent opportunity for you to model kindness and empathy in your “virtual interactions”.
In Kenya, the Communications Authority of Kenya is responsible for protecting consumer rights within the communications sector and, among other things.
The Authority’s consumers protection mandate seeks to among other things, implement appropriate consumer regulatory interventions and mechanisms that best safeguard consumers’ rights in ICT. This also includes protecting children online.