Age-appropriate online activities for kids

(NC) Even if you wanted to, it would be hard to opt out of the online world today. Searching the internet, watching videos, playing online games and using social media can make life easier and more enjoyable. While kids are growing up with these digital tools and activities as second nature to them, it’s still important to make sure they’re staying safe with appropriate activities.

Here are some ideas that can be scaled up or down for different age groups as needed:

Exploring a faraway world close to home

Augmented reality games that get kids active and out into the neighbourhood can be a great online activity for various age groups. Games like this, such as Pokémon Go or Dragon Quest Walk, take players on a digital scavenger hunt in the physical world. You can play together with younger kids or let them meet up to play with friends if they’re old enough. Classic geocaching is the same principle without the augmented reality. Just be aware that these games require GPS location data, so protect your privacy by disabling location access when not in use.

Getting into gaming

Playing video games can be super entertaining and even educational for all age groups. With online connectivity in popular games like Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox, it’s important to do your own due diligence about whether they are suitable for your child – especially since many younger kids are playing.

Built-in messaging and in-game purchasing can pose safety and security risks for kids, who could be lured into clicking on scams or spending lots of money. Fortunately, you can often modify parental controls to make them somewhat safer. Whatever age your players are, be sure to have conversations with them about how to stay safe in online games. Teach them to be aware of red flags for phishing scams and block any strange requests. Let them know they can always come to you if they aren’t sure about something.

Navigating social media

As scary and unknowable as social media might feel for parents, it can be an important way for teens to stay connected with their peers and explore their interests. Stay up to date on the features and risks of social platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram and have ongoing conversations with your teens about how they use the platforms and what they need to know to stay safe.

If younger kids show interest, creating content together – whether you post it or not – can be tons of fun and open valuable conversations about what’s appropriate to share online.

Find more information at GetCyberSafe. ca.

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