Here’s the Quick Guide for Parents to Maintain Children’s Online Safety
Technology is growing tremendously in today’s age. One of the most significant inventions Internet has given us numerous advantages for making our lives much better and easier than it used to be. But, that’s also a sad reality that has made us so much dependent on it that threats have started taking place on a daily basis, and another harsh reality is that it’s in many different forms.
Child’s Online Safety Is Utmost Important in Today’s Internet Dependent World
The internet is filled with online child safety guides, but not many are inclined to share what you should do as parents. And, admit it somewhere you’re also not entirely serious about taking it as one of the top priorities.
The internet is filled with good information that can help you in many aspects of life. Still, it’s filled with a lot of filth like Cyberbullying, Sexual predators, and other hurtful content that can make your child miserable in the long run if proper precaution is not taken. We’re not trying to panic you, but it’s something you should be aware of as a parent, and your ignorance towards the risk’s magnitude can affect your child very badly.
Now the question arises, what you should be doing as parents. Well, one thing you can surely do, instead of handing them technology devices to keep them occupied so you can carry on with your busy world, you should educate them about the pros and cons. Rather than handing over smartphones and tablets in their small hands at a very young age, we should teach them the dangers of online life. And, instead of thinking everything will be fine, we should take active steps to check our child’s activity and stay sure that they’re fine.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to stay alert about your child’s safety. Here, we’ll point out different areas that you should look at as you go through this online world. For instance, threats that incur through mobile phones, social media platforms, online gaming, cyberbullying, and many others.
Parents Are Not Fully Aware of Today’s Modern Social Medial Platforms
The biggest challenge that comes across children’s online safety is that parents are not aware of social media platforms. For example, many parents don’t know much about the modern age social media platforms like Facebook, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram, and even Twitter, forget about gaming communities and others.
Yes, what mostly they do is they trust their child blindly and get the devices like a smartphone that connects them to all these platforms in a few simple clicks. And another problem is that for children online world is far real instead of the real world. So, you should know what your child is exposed to from those innocent-looking devices, about their good and bad, and how impactful it can be to their well-being – physically and emotionally both.
However, there’s good news, too. It’s not difficult to put restrictions on such devices and applications for the online safety of children. And more importantly, another step you should take is to talk with your children about this openly.
However, here we’ve listed some threats that any child can become victim to and tips on setting boundaries for what your child should be accessing online and being there with them when they make any mistake or when they have gone above the limit.
Quick Tips for Parents to Keep Their Child Safe Online
Below are some tips that you should follow as a parent to maintain your child’s safety from these smart devices that you hand over to them at a young age:
Smartphones & Tablets
In this technology-driven world and research such as SellCell, the average age the first smartphone handed to a child is 8 years, which is dropping further. Back in 2015, according to 000, the average age noted was 10. Though giving a smartphone to your child has certain benefits, but it’s easy to forget that it can quickly bring harm.
Also, Smartphones can be damaging if it went unsupervised, as it brings uncountable freedom. It gives the ability to communicate with anyone without being supervised, allows the user to consume whatever content they want to, and even allows them to misbehave towards other children without any hassle.
Furthermore, if the child is not fully aware of how to behave properly with phones, basic ethics, and caution that are needed to handle mobile phones. They can even become victims of online harassment or bullying, online threats like malware attack, money theft, being exposed to violent or adult content, and so on. Another problem many parents face is that they often don’t know what their children are doing on it, because smartphones are personal devices.
So, if you’re someone who is planning to give their child a smartphone, tablet, or any other smart device, it’s best to have certain guidelines in hand, so you and your child both stay on the same page. And, if they already have such a device, then demonstrate that it’s a responsibility to have a smartphone or such devices, and it can expose to dangers if it’s not used with proper care.
Common Safety Measures as a Parent You Can Take for Such Devices
- Download easy to install parental control apps. It let you control the usage, and you can even put a limit on it. It provides your location and even lets you monitor calls and messages. Moreover, these apps even allow you to shut down certain functions at certain times. For example, disabling text messaging functions during dinner time.
- Limit the usage of smartphones, for example, not more than an hour.
- Children do what their parents do. Be an example, avoid using smartphones and other devices for long, avoid using while driving, or at the dinner table. Install apps that can monitor text messages. Such apps help to alert parents about any suspicious or harmful messages. It even tracks the device to show the real-time location of your child.
Smart TV’s & Streaming Services Like Netflix
Online content streaming services that show movies and series are quite popular. Even Smart TVs are also made that give access to such services as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video. Many shows that appear on such streaming services do include adult content that is not appropriate for young children. Children do get drawn to the popular show, without understanding that it’s not appropriate for their age like it contains too much violence or disturbing things.
How to Prevent Your Child From Watching Such Content on Streaming Services
Many streaming services offer parental controls. For example, Netflix lets you create a separate profile for your children. So, you should make use of such features and let your child have access to only age-appropriate content. And another good thing is that content streaming services like Netflix for children are shown in different colors instead of regular menus. So, it’s even easier for parents to find out which Netflix version is your child on. But, this doesn’t mean that your child can’t get access to that, so you’ve to stay cautious about it.
Social Media Platforms
The usage of social media is quite popular. More than 70% of teens are active on it. Also, children overspend their time on such social media platforms. One survey made by Common Sense Media showed that children ranging from 8 to 12 years were online as nearly as 6 hr/day and from 13 to 18 around 9 hours.
It’s one of the harshest realities, but it’s true. Many sexual predators choose the internet as a medium to interact with children and try exploiting them. Children age 12 to 15 are even victims of such gruesome things. These predators target their victims through mediums like social media platforms, text messages, or any other.
They often create fake online identities and present themselves as children and try tricking kids into talking with them. Once they discover as much information as they can, they try contacting them. Then they try convincing into inappropriate things like sending indecent images or chatting through webcam. At worse, they may even try to meet them.
And, the worst part is that it’s not easy to say whether a child is suffering from such activity or not. Because most of the time, these predators threaten them to keep it as a secret from everyone, including their parents and loved ones. However, you can find out if you try investigating once you see specific warnings like children become overly secretive or they behave oddly like quite sad or withdrawn, abrupt mood swings, or stay distracted without any specific reasons.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you should let them know that you’re always there for them, and they can talk with you about anything they want without being feared by anyone.
Communication Is the Key
- Discuss about such online predators and make them aware. Ensure they know with whom they’re interacting, stay careful, and alert while talking online, and do not share any personal information with anyone they don’t know.
- Let them know they count upon you and can discuss anything whenever they want.
- Work with them on some educational materials along with your children on such topics.
- If you think your child’s life is at risk, don’t take it lightly and take legal help like contacting the police.
The internet offers content easily, and many are even inappropriate for children. Now, inappropriate content can be anything from adult movies to violent ones with many swearing and even the one that exposes political or religious ideology.
It’s easier said than done, but you must have an open conversation about this topic with your children about what type of content they watch over the internet. Children are often afraid to go to their parents when they watch something inappropriate, maybe fearing that you’ll get upset and take away the device or internet access altogether.
Open & Frank Communication About Sensitive Topics
Many times people avoid talking about sensitive things with their children. Though they are doing it for thinking best about them, but it can backfire. For instance, talking about sex-related topics are still taboo in many places, but it must be openly discussed.
So, children can stay aware of it, and instead, if anything happens inappropriate with them, they can trust you and open up easily instead of hiding from you.
Communicate with them frankly no matter how sensitive the subject is and assure them that they can feel free to talk about anything with you or ask any question they have.
Here’s How to Block Sensitive & Inappropriate Content
- Install an ad blocker for preventing viruses that may lead to inappropriate content.
- Be sure that if you’ve subscribed to any streaming services, they have active child protection profiles, so kids don’t come across anything they shouldn’t watch.
- Keep filters for blocking any content such as porn. Your ISP might have a parental control feature.
Many peoples life revolves online. And children and teenagers are among the most. Bullying in school colleges has been witnessed from years, but these days it has moved one step ahead. Nowadays, online bullying, also called cyberbullying, is also relatively high. These are harassments that can start at a very young age and stay up to many years to come. And, there are many examples of such incidents that didn’t get controlled in time. And it moved so much further many of their victims even committed suicide.
Such online bullying occurs almost on all types of social media and even outside it over the internet. And, it’s not limited to a particular form. It’s seen in many ways like spreading rumor, sending threatening messages through social media, SMS, pretending to be someone else. Posting embarrassing content on the internet about someone, forwarding private photos without their consent, posting about someone to humiliate them, and much more.
Furthermore, it damages the online reputation of both the parties, i.e., the victim and the offender who tried tarnishing someone’s image. And, in today’s date, it can even impact negatively on their future like college admission or employment.
Steps to Take if Your Child Is a Victim of Online Bullying
- Take screenshots and record as proof of the bullying. It’ll prove helpful in reporting and stopping it.
- Contact the police if it’s over the board and violent. Inform the school with the collected proof.
- Discuss with other parents and try to figure out whether other children have been victim to it and stop them.
- Find out whether schools have an immediate response ready for dealing with online bullying.
Online Security Threats
It’s another threat that everyone should be careful of. It’s not only limited to children, but adults can also become victim to it. Cyber threats are on the rise, and it keeps on happening on a daily basis. And, children can become one of the easiest targets.
Threats like viruses, malware, phishing, identity theft, and ransomware are commonly seen threats of which your child can become a victim. For kids, sharing personal details like full name, residential address, or phone numbers on the website may seem harmless, but it can become harmful if shared on any malicious website. And these cybercrooks can get away with such information in various ways, like offering free game downloads, or any other freebies that can place viruses onto the system that can further steal information.
Here’s How to Avoid Such Unwanted Scenarios
You should communicate with your child and educate about how cybercrime is increasing and not to be naive about it. Educate them about keeping all the personal information private, keeping strong passwords, having strong antivirus and ad-blocker installed, avoid using public Wi-Fi connection for anything serious like online shopping. At worst, if they’ve to use public Wi-Fi for other stuffs such as checking emails, make sure they have a good VPN installed on their device, so their connection stays anonymous, and no one can trace them.
In today’s date, internet safety should be taken on priority. Even adults become victims of many of the things done by cyber crooks. So, you should take as a responsibility and teach them about their online behavior, as one mistake can make a negative impact on them, which can become difficult to overcome.
Important Resources to Read
- Top 7 Ways to Enhance the Security of Your Home Wi-Fi Network
- Take Your Mac Security to the Next Level With These Tools
- Top 10 Tips for Mobile Phone Security
- Benefits Using VPN for Business
- How Can Your Business Handle the Risks Arising from a VPN?
- 7 Tools to Stay Completely Anonymous Online
- Should You Use a VPN at Home or Not?