The internet has a lot of intriguing and valuable content, but it also has a nasty side that cannot be ignored, and that can be dangerous for kids.
The internet may be a dangerous place, filled with bullies, scammers, inappropriate content, potential predators, and other unpleasant shocks. Authorities attempt to protect children from these risks with legislation. For example, according to PIA’s post, various states requires their residents to access adult websites with government-issued IDs.
Parents’ role is also important in making sure a child is safe. With how much time our kids spend online, we need to take extra measures to protect their online safety. Here is how you can do that.
1. Have the right approach
As soon as your child begins using the internet, you should begin talking to them about the content they may encounter.
Get them to understand that there will be times when they will see things that are for people who are above the age of 18.
Many popular online services, like Facebook and YouTube, restrict access to anyone younger than 13. Explain to your child that the purpose of age limits is to keep them safe from material that may be unsuitable for them and that this is not because you ‘hate them’ or don’t trust them.
Find out what your kid likes to do online so you can steer them toward appropriate content. You can also turn on Google SafeSearch and switch YouTube to “safe mode” to filter out age-inappropriate content.
Try to maintain your composure and soothing demeanor.
Reassure your child that you or another trusted adult will be there to talk to them if they encounter anything upsetting online.
Install a firewall, anti-spyware, and other complete internet security tools on all of your devices. It should be a primary priority to enable parental controls and filtering on devices used by younger children (national school level). People’s usernames and passwords for the many websites and apps they use frequently should be familiar to you.
When they become older (secondary school level), discuss “managing internet dangers” with them, explain how to block/report, etc. as well as their security and privacy settings with them.
Inform your child that their passwords should not even be known by their closest friends. Kids frequently create accounts by checking a box without reading the terms and conditions, much like their more mature counterparts.
Dissect the terms of service for the web platforms and mobile apps they are using (e.g. how long their data will be stored, and who it is shared with). They will be appreciative of you for making them aware of it, even if they protest that they already are.
3. Keep screens & devices where you can see them
If your child is small, you should always monitor their time spent online.
The computer should be placed in a high-traffic area of the home so that you can keep an eye on your child’s online activities.
Disabling Wi-Fi passcodes on mobile devices is one way to prevent unauthorized internet use by children.
It’s also a good idea to agree that electronic devices like laptops, tablets, and video games are off-limits in the bedroom.
If your child is very young, you may want to consider checking their browser history after they’ve been online to see what sites they’ve been on (even though you may feel a bit guilty).
Another reason to start the conversation about internet use early is that it will become more difficult as kids get older and understand how to wipe history.
4. Be aware of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying occurs online more often than we’d think.
Online threats, rumors, harassment, and humiliation are all forms of bullying. It can be done openly on social media, in group conversations, or discreetly in texts and other messaging.
The bully can be an adult or a peer. Tell your youngster that cyberbullying is wrong and that they must report it.
A recent survey indicated that one in five U.S. youngsters ages 9 to 12 have witnessed, been bullied, or bullied others.
Online bullying is just as harmful as in-person bullying, if not worse.
The child may not recognize the bully, which could come off as a bigger issue in the long run. If the goal is to hurt, humiliate, or scare someone, this is classified as bullying. If undiagnosed, it can linger for years and worsen sadness and anxiety.
5. Watch out for scams
It can be challenging for kids to distinguish between good and bad websites, especially if they appear in search results.
Then there is the risk posed by malware and phishing emails.
Going through some search results and having a discussion is one of the finest ways we can teach them to watch out for questionable websites.
Other safety precautions can also be helpful in this situation, such as being sure not to click any dubious links on the internet or in emails.
This includes unforeseen links that “check” your information but are typically associated with identity fraudsters. Try to remind them that they should:
- Never submit payment information or personal information
- Any online accounts should have secure passwords
- Any links or offers of freebies in return for information should be avoided
What more you should know + how to prevent this
Due to advances in technology, the universal availability of the internet, and limited age verification requirements, minors are exposed to pornography earlier in age. With the right parental control and VPN usage, you can block malicious and inappropriate domains are useful tools to protect your children in the digital age. Check them out and see for yourself.