What Types Of Websites Should Feature On Your Child’s Internet ‘Yes’ List?

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When you become a parent, the internet starts to feel like this big bad thing. We’ve all heard about the dark side of social media or the plethora of inappropriate content online. Stories like the Momo YouTube horror of a few years ago have added fuel to that fire, leaving parents believing that just short periods online could ruin their children for life. 

These fears aren’t entirely unfounded, either. Studies in recent years have discovered that as many as one in twenty children have experienced online sexual risks or harm since 2017. But, the internet isn’t an entirely bad place. Many positives can also come from children spending time online when they use that time in the right ways. For parents, making sure that’s the case simply means educating their kids on the risks, putting proper parental controls in place, and setting limits for computer screen time just like with television or game consoles. 

It’s also important to know precisely what your child does when they’re browsing the web, especially if you have younger children at home. Parental controls can help with this to some extent by blocking and even alerting you to searches for certain problematic sites. Creating a ‘yes’ list of positive websites for your child to visit could also help to guide their browsing time in the right direction. 

Inevitably, teenagers will resist this list like the plague. Still, you should find that younger kids can do more with their time online when you create a  list of this nature, which could include websites like the following. 

Educational Websites

Schools and teachers now use the internet in a multitude of ways, including to print free resources, encourage student research, and generally expand children’s knowledge sets. Whether your child has an exam coming up or just needs to brush on something before they can complete their homework, there are some great websites to help. 

Often, your child’s school will send lists of these websites home, and these are always great reliable resources to check out. Many schools also now offer their own online platforms which include additional educational resources and provide the benefit of locked student or parent access. 

Even outside of these school-based go-tos, however, there are some fantastic, highly-rated educational websites, the best of which include – 

  1. Scholastic
  2. National Geographic Kids
  3. NASA Kids’ Club

Websites for Emotional Support

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Online support is no replacement for real-life in-person support, counseling, or advice. Still, certain websites can be a great first step for children who are suffering with anything from their mental health to social skills. This is especially true for embarrassed children, and these websites may either reassure them, give them actionable steps, or encourage them to speak out. 

These websites are designed with kids of all ages in mind and are often founded with the help of experts including psychologists, counselors, and more. In some cases, emotional support apps, in particular, are also developed with the help of children and teens who have experienced many of the same issues. 

To be sure that an emotional support website is reputable, check out the credentials of its creators, any reviews, and the parental resources page. For the same reasons that social media should be a no-go for younger kids, it’s also worth avoiding support websites that offer online forums. Even if those forums are professionally regulated, you should wait until your child is old enough to use them.

Some emotional support websites you might want to direct your child towards include – 

  1. Relax Kids
  2. As You Are Therapy
  3. It Gets Better (for LGBTQ+ youth)

Relaxing Games

Back in the early days of the internet, computer use was all about simple games like solitaire and snake, which you could play on your desktop. As well as being incredibly relaxing to play, these seemingly simple games were great for skills like cognitive development and problem-solving. And, while the internet has undeniably come on a little since then, there are still plenty of ways to get stuck into these classic games. 

Without the noise and distraction of other online activities, these resources strip things back to basics, allowing kids to unwind, have fun, and steer clear of more harmful online activities. Even better, unlike the basic graphics and one-dimensional play of those old classics, online games are now more advanced than ever, allowing your kids to grow their skills by progressing through gameplay levels, and even providing the satisfaction of a communal leaderboard without the risks of actual online interactions. 

Whether you play with your child or allow them to discover their skill for these games alone, some great online options include – 

  1. 247 solitaire
  2. Online Wordle
  3. Minesweeper

Websites for New Skills

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Developing new skills during childhood can be beneficial for a wide range of reasons. As well as being great from an educational perspective, this can boost your child’s confidence, help them realize their ideal career, and even give them an ongoing outlet throughout those tough teen years. Even better, unlike sometimes pressurized in-person clubs, online learning allows them to explore as many new skills as they fancy, always at a speed that suits them. 

It is worth noting that, in some cases, you may need to pay an annual or monthly fee for certain skill-based apps, though this will be generally less than you’d pay for in-person tuition. However, there are also plenty of free hobby-based resources if you look in the right places.

Whether you pair website learning with tuition at a later date or find that your child takes their new skill into their own hands, just a few websites to bear in mind include – 

  1. Code-A-Kid
  2. Rosetta Stone languages
  3. Duolingo ABC

World News Sites

It’s never too early to encourage a healthy interest in world news amongst your children. Unfortunately, a lot of what they’ll stumble across on traditional news websites is far from happy childhood viewing. But, there is a happy medium, and it comes in the form of child-friendly world news sites. 

Often targeted towards your child’s age and interest, kid-friendly news websites can be a great introduction to topics that include politics, conflict, and scientific breakthroughs. The main things to look out for in these new sites are verifiable stories, regular updates, and the ability to choose age-appropriate stories. Many child-friendly news sites will also provide parental portals, where you can oversee the quality and kind of stories they’re uploading. 

Some of the best news websites your child could benefit from following include – 

  1. TIME for Kids
  2. DogoNews
  3. KidNuz (a daily newscast)

Browsing for Fun

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Sometimes, your kids will just want to browse online for a bit of fun. To save them from dreaded doom scrolling that has the downside of leading down problematic rabbit holes, it’s worth adding a few more laid-back sites to your ‘yes’ list.

To some extent, you have already done this with your mention of those relaxing games. But, for times when your child just wants to unwind, you might want to incorporate some even more laid-back fun sites than that. 

Fun sites your child is sure to love visiting include – 

  1. LEGO Kids
  2. Funology
  3. Disney Junior

Takeaway

Complete internet bans are ineffective and unnecessary, but you still need to take care when letting your child online. Rather than being strict about what sites they can’t visit, try creating a ‘yes’ list of websites based on the sections included throughout this article. That way, you can put your mind at ease, and make sure they’re putting their time online to the best possible use.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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Paul Walters
Paul Walters
19 days ago

To engage in all types of online activities effectively, you need a fast and reliable network. This can be achieved by TM sim registration

Yungdog
Yungdog
16 days ago

Helpful, thanks!