Protecting a child from the dangers on the internet should be a concern for all parents, even more so if they have children on the Autism spectrum. We’ve put together the following tips as a guide to keep your children safe online, and avoid some of the dangers that can be found online.
- Keep your family’s computer in a communal space, like a lounge room or in the kitchen. This way, you can check in regularly and keep an eye on what’s happening in your child’s online social circles.
- Create some visual reminders and posters of internet safety tips and hang them up in the room around your computer. This can be a great opportunity to sit with your child and discuss internet safety while coming up with some rules together.
- Educate your child about online safety, clarify that they understand, and renew their knowledge regularly.
- Roleplay different scenarios with your child to teach them how to react to online dangers in a safe setting. You could create an account on the platform they‘re using, and use this to send them messages as part of the roleplay to make it seem more realistic.
- Write and enforce a strict roster around internet usage times to avoid complications with internet addiction. You may even divide time spent online into separate categories, like play or study, and work that into the roster as well.
- Put all electronics away about two hours before bed to help improve your child’s sleep.
- Use internet content filters, like Net Nanny, to monitor and restrict your child‘s browsing activity. These programs will also restrict their access to inappropriate content, and any other websites you block.
- Install child-friendly internet browsers like KidSplorer – they are visually appealing to children, and they make it safer for them to use the internet. Similar to a content filter, they’ll only be able to access the websites you have specified, and will even block access to the internet at predetermined times.
- Establish a plan with them on what they should do if they encounter a cyberbully, how they should react, and who they should tell.
- Casually ask them about their online friends and what they’ve been talking about, similar to the way in which you‘d ask them how their school day went.
- Provide them with a checklist of the information that they are not allowed to give out over the internet, such as their full name, birth date, address, and school name.
Check in again next week for the final instalment: The Conclusion to Staying Safe Online