Exclusive Tips on how to help your child with Online Learning while Ensuring Internet Safety

Every kid is unique in their own way and it's important for us to find out what works best for our kid and how to keep them focused & engaged so that they can thrive with e-learning.

Without any doubt, the academic year 2021/22 will be unlike any other. Across the country, there are plans for in-school learning, virtual learning, and hybrid models.

As a result of the national declaration of school reopening, schools are working on safely accommodating children in physical classrooms while also organizing virtual classes. Parents are torn between allowing their child to attend for physical schooling or not!

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, parents, students, and teachers scrambled to figure out how to make online learning as effective as traditional schooling.

Kids used to grumble about how boring internet education is. "Why can't I go to school?” “I miss my friends.” Many children may or may not express concern about the difficulty of online learning or the impact of the pandemic on their educational system, but they are affected.

Some of the adjustments made during the pandemic may no longer be implemented as time passes. Even if schools decide to reopen fully, kids will almost certainly face a future in which online courses are an integral component of their education.

This shift to online learning has been challenging for all involved, including teachers, kids, and parents. Teachers are finding it hard to really engage children, whereas parents are having to take on additional responsibilities as a teacher to make up for the lack of real on-campus classes.

P.S - Any resemblance with real-life is completely intentional 🙂

If you're worried your child is falling behind with online learning, we've got these science backed tips to help your child be focused, engaged, and balanced and thrive with e-learning.

Setup a Learning Friendly Environment

✔️ Organize a Quiet Learning Space

When kids are participating in an online class, the classroom is wherever they are right that moment. In our home it’s not possible to give kids all the attributes they usually find in their school.

But at least we have to give them a place that is quiet and free from distraction, yet provides enough space for them to take notes, either on their computer or by hand.

Choose a learning location that your child is already familiar with. The stronger their bond with the location, the more time they are likely to spend there in comfort.  

Musts for a effective E-learning environment
✔️ Reduce Distractions

The environment can also be a significant source of distraction. Suppose the place, where you asked them to study, is full of toys. Obviously, distraction would make it harder for him or her to concentrate.

We all know it is not necessary for your kid's study desk to be messy with stuff that may cause him or her to lose attention. When the study desk is filled with worthless documents, pen-pencil, toys, or even trash, attention might get scattered.

Make an environment for your child that is comfortable, serene, and devoid of unnecessary distractions.

✔️ Put all School Essentials at one place

You'll need to gather all of their necessary items, such as a book, pen, paper, eraser, highlighter, mouse, and so on, and place them in a designated study area where they'll be able to attend their online class.

If you don't have enough space or are unable to set up a dedicated study place, make plans to store school supplies in a box, bag, or other easily transportable object. When it's time for online class, it'll be simple to get everything ready for a smooth transition.

You'll also need to maintain an electric power supply handy to keep the device charged while you're in class.

In a live class, kids may be asked to turn on their webcam or microphone. For this reason, proper arrangements, for example: laptop/pc, headphone, webcam, as well as noise free zone is required.

✔️ Ensure a Comfortable Space

One thing is key: students should not be doing online classes from their beds! Make sure the chair and the environment are comfortable for long online learning.

One of the most important considerations when selecting a pleasing study room is ergonomics. Both the study table and chair should support proper posture, and the top of the desk should lie between your kid’s chest and rib cage when they are seated.

✔️ Ensure Good Lighting

Although most home-based learning computer screens are bright enough to be utilized in the dark, it is still preferable to have a well-lit study room.

In the dark, using the computer might create eye strain, making it difficult for them to focus on the screen.

Setup the Primary Device

A well-set device can make online class much easier for children

In your home you might have different devices that your kid might use for their class. But it is suggested to give them a single device to use for their study. Keep all the passwords and settings according to their convenience level.

When they are using the device, you need to have a strong internet connection, also you need to install different applications on your computer or laptop.

Bookmark websites that will be frequently used by them so they don't have to go looking for them every time they need them.

Most phones, laptops, and other mobile devices have built-in assistive technology. For example, reading aloud or text-to-speech can help struggling readers, and speech-to-text can help struggling writers. You can also install many writing apps.

For younger children, consider limiting their screen time by printing materials

When your kids are using your pc/laptop try to uninstall social media, Netflix and games as these might distract the kid.

Establish routine

Routine is essential! Kids need to know what their boundaries are and what to expect. Then they can make sure assignments get done and are able to strike a healthy balance between work and playtime.

However, online classes from home will never be the same as physical school. As parents we need to understand that and set our own expectations right.

Many parents tried to turn their houses into schools, full with daily plans and activities during the first lockdown. However, a lot of the activities and schedules didn't last long.

A simple but effective routine can help in building healthy habits in kids which will help them to learn effectively. We can place the routine on the wall of the study table. For assignments and deadlines, help set up an online calendar for your child so that they get alerts.

Here are some simple yet effective tips that can help you to establish Routine:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
  • Use a timer on your phone, laptop, or other device to remind your children of class schedule, create that school bell at home so that kids can stick to the routine!
  • Take breaks regularly. Encourage your child to move around, exercise - these will ensure work times are more effective.
  • Encourage your child to break assignments into smaller pieces, giving himself manageable goals to accomplish throughout the day/week.
  • Set Up a fixed Time Each Day or week to go through your child’s assignments and homeworks

Facilitate the Learning Process

Parents need to be more involved when the kids are doing online classes, especially when the kids are younger.

If your child is having trouble with their online learning, as a parent you should speak with them to figure out what the problem is. A student can learn more effectively in a supportive learning environment.

How Parents can facilitate the Learning Process

Here are some tips on how you can facilitate their online learning journey:

✔️ Allow break

Teachers put forth a lot of effort to make classes engaging and entertaining, as well as customizing instruction to provide the right level of content for their students. Still online schools can be tiring for children.

It's critical to give your child a break if the task is too challenging or they've become frustrated. You might also schedule a break after each class. It's also OK to go slowly and allow your child to assimilate information.

✔️ Determine what type of activities work best for your kid

Is there a particular type of online learning activity that your kid prefers most?

Is it preferable for your child to work on synchronous activities where they reply to a live instructor or one-on-one with you in person?

What learning platforms do you think your kid is more interested in than others?

The answers to these questions might help you and your kid's teacher arrange for better learning opportunities that would be most beneficial.

✔️ Encourage movement

Make sure your child does not spend the entire day sitting in the same place. Allow them to move around the rooms and move their bodies. Breaks and exercise improve attention and concentration while also alleviating boredom.

✔️ Observe & Help when needed

By identifying your kid's interest and involvement in this new learning environment, you can help them adjust to their new routine and at-home resources. Observation is the most straightforward way to accomplish this.

Examine your child's eyes to see if they're focused on the screen. Observe them to determine if they're taking notes or if they've dozed off.

Ask questions at the end of each lesson if possible. Even if it means taking an hour off work or a late bedtime, it's critical to ensure that your kids are learning.

Simple technical flaws like bad audio, faulty internet connection, or a wrong camera perspective can make all the difference in the world.

Simple measures such as self-quizzing or checking problems together will assist you in keeping track of their development.

Reach out to your kid’s teacher

During online education, a lack of communication between teachers and parents may be a roadblock to reaching optimal learning outcomes. Having an open line of communication with the teacher is an absolute necessity.

You must intervene if your child is having difficulty at school. And working with the teacher can help the most in giving the child the support he or she needs.  

  • Encourage kids to ask questions in the class and request the teacher to encourage the same. If kids are confused, they tune out of class, resulting in a disengagement that's difficult to recover from.
  • If a kid is having trouble with a deadline task, the first thing you should do is work with them on weekends.
  • If you have any questions about the assignment, try contacting the subject teacher for clarification. You can use this time to discuss your child's issues, review upcoming lessons, and clarify details.
  • Set up a direct line of communication with your child's teachers, if necessary, using email, text, phone calls, or even video conferencing.

Help your child to stay connected with friends

School is much more than just a classroom. It provides a safe environment for children to socialize and practice networking skills. Also spending some time with friends makes the whole learning process more interesting for them, school becomes something to look forward to.

However in online class, our kids are not getting this aspect. They are having very limited interaction which does not really motivate kids to attend online classes.

Including some time with friends in a child's daily routine will help him or her stay connected. Organizing a daily video call with a friend or a group of peers is something parents can do to keep kids motivated and help fulfill their need for socializing.

Internet safety

All this online class has made it compulsory for parents to give gadget & internet access to kids. However, this has resulted in parents worrying about the risks that unsupervised internet access poses.

Threats to children’s internet safety include invasions of privacy, cyberbullying, sexting and harassment. One of the most common online dangers for kids is inappropriate content. For kids everything from vulgar language/hate speech to vividly violent content can be damaging.

Parental controls, applications, and tracking software are all options for protecting your kid.

However, the most effective approach to keep your children safe online is to explain to them about the dangers of the internet, how to avoid them, and how to contact you if something goes wrong.

Tips to have Safe Internet for kids

These basic practices will reduce your child's exposure to internet threats regardless of the platform or software used by their school.

✔️ Filter out inappropriate content

There are several types of filters that can restrict websites and material your kid has access to the internet. These are used to filter out the materials that aren't suitable.

On your children's devices, enable “SafeSearch” (https://www.google.com/m/preferences) in Google Search and Google Images. This will filter out the majority of adult and other inappropriate search results, but not all. Filters can restrict which websites and material your kid has access to the internet.

You can also install parental control software in addition to these options.

If you wish for a more updated version of settings, you can restrict specific contacts on social networks, messages with certain words or phrases and even can stop the messages.

Also, use antivirus protection. Solid looking website also can carry malicious code. These can redirect your kid to a fake site which looks the same, but actually contains a keylogger or computer virus.

✔️ Set up Parental Controls

You don't need to spend money on parental control software to keep your child safe while learning online. Many useful tools are already incorporated into your device's hardware, software, and web browser.

Here are some lessons to help you get the most out of your built-in privacy settings and content blocks.

✔️ Set the Ground Rules

Before you handle the device to use them for their online learning you should have an age-appropriate open discussion with them about what they should and shouldn’t do. Tell them their boundary and why it is like that.

First, set a limit for overall online learning and screen time. When their time is limited, they are less likely to involve undesirable flows of the web.

Ask your kid to talk with you before sharing information or enter into different sites or click any hyperlinks. Make them aware to tell you everything they face that is not normal. Sharing with parents reduces the risk of doing wrong.

Treating others online the way you'd want to be treated is another key habit to instill in your children. Anonymity on the internet can lead anyone, including kids, to say things they wouldn't typically say.

✔️ Keep everything updated

One of the greatest ways to keep kids safe online is to keep all of their gadgets, software, and internet connections up to date.

Although updates may appear annoying, security patches that address the most recent and inventive threats are one of the primary reasons companies issue new versions.

Additionally, an out-of-date operating system or software version can render your parental controls and privacy settings useless.

✔️ Give your children Trust and Respect

Kids should be given the opportunity to learn and grow from their own decisions. As a parent if we impose too many strict rules upon them it would damage the harmony between parent and kids.

It may even encourage children to be more unruly.

Our children are raised in a world of tablets, laptops and smartphones, and they have an innate familiarity with the internet that many adults can’t even think of!

The bottom line for parents is that applying online security settings must be balanced with your kid's respect. Online child safety begins with flexible, robust parental controls that are backed up by reliable virus prevention software.

However, it works best when parents blend it with a good dose of respect and freedom for their tech-savvy kids.

✔️ Minimizing risks at home

It's easy to control internet safety while a kid is taking lessons from home by maintaining the following guidelines.  

  • Keep the computer in the living room or in a common area where observation is possible. You can decrease the chances of talking to strangers or seeing inappropriate websites as well as improve their concentration in listening to the class lecture by placing the computer/laptop in a common area of the house.
  • Use a kid-friendly search engine. Regular search engines may generate outcomes including stuff that you don't want your kid to see. Some search engines, on the other hand, are designed to only return results that are appropriate for children.
  • Learn everything about the internet. Knowing how to use the internet properly will not only help you scrutinize the dangers, but it will also help you communicate with your kid better.
  • Set standards after discussing with them what your kids can and cannot do online. It's critical to establish rules for your kid so that they understand what is expected of them. It’s better to communicate with them before setting any specific rules.
  • Teach your kids to use social networking sites safely. Kids—and adults—can use sites like Facebook to upload images and videos of themselves, as well as converse with friends and teachers. Even if your children share something with their pals, it is possible that it will fall into the wrong hands. In general, they should only share something online if they are fine with it being seen by everyone on the planet.
  • Encourage your kids to come to you if they encounter a problem.  You'll want your kid to come to you rather than hide if he or she gets into glitches online. Keep in mind that even if your kid is following all of the rules, they could come upon a dangerous website by accident, even when they are using the internet for only academic purposes.
  • Talk to your kids about how to use the internet correctly. Talk to your kids about how they can use the internet on a regular basis for their study purpose and also for recreation. Also, you make them feel that you know better so that they feel the urge to learn from you. Parents may help their children's online time be less stressful by using the correct tools and adopting the right mindset.

Parents and educators should strive to lead with love. Also, understand that good educational experiences are built on strong relationships with children.

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