As parents, there are some things we need to be aware of when our kids inevitably begin to enter the “digital world.” The Internet is a vast, intangible network of worldwide users who share all types of content. Although most information is designed to be educational, social media, video gaming, and other online actions could affect your child at school and in the home; if not properly monitored, a child could find themselves in serious trouble.
Internet Safety For Children: Some Issues Kids Can Face In The Cyber World?
Cyberstalking or Cyberbullying
As our children engage with popular online social networking and gaming communities, like Instagram and Fortnite, they’re spending more time online, and less time having real conversations and relationships. In fact, this constant connection and a false sense of “Internet-freedom,” is commonly taken advantage of by cybercriminals including bullies and stalkers. From verbal demands and forms of intimidation to potential physical threats, it’s extremely important that children are aware of potential online dangers and are capable of communicating these issues with you. If your child is experiencing this type of harassment in school or at home, work with teachers or school administrators to help identify and mitigate the risk of bullying or stalking by peers.
Put simply, not everything on the Internet is appropriate for children. Parents should strictly enforce safety rules, enable adult content filters, and explain how inappropriate content could be harmful to their overall mental development.
Scams are commonly used to trick individuals into willfully handing over sensitive information. However, even accidents, such as a lost or stolen phone or device can put sensitive information in the wrong hands. When specifically targeting the information of children, cybercriminals can exploit their vulnerabilities by selling the information or using it to commit identity theft, as discussed here. In fact, kids are easy targets for identity thieves, as a child may not understand what is appropriate to share online. Therefore, parents with children using the Internet need to be educated on common scams, and the information they should never share online.
4 Key Tips To Improve Internet Safety For Children
Don’t be afraid of the Internet: take control! As a parent, there are some great tools that can help both you and your children identify scams and prevent unauthorized access to potentially harmful content; below are 4 tips you can use to ensure your child uses the Internet safely.
Use Parental Controls
As mentioned above, online gaming and social networking platforms, such as Roblox, Minecraft, and YouTube could be exposing children to inappropriate content. Many parents enable parental control settings to filter inappropriate content; this cuts off interaction with unknown users or possible scammers who phish for personal information. Parental controls can be found within the platform usually under the settings icon.
Limit Screen Time
The more time your kids spend online, the more likely they are to encounter a cyber threat. Limit their web interactions by replacing their devices with a fun family activity or playdate. If you’re struggling to implement and stick to a screen-free policy in the home, consider having a tech-safety conversation with children; when speaking with your children, formally acknowledge threats and setting guidelines to keep them safe!
Monitor Web Use
Every once in a while you should check-in to monitor your child’s online behaviors. Simply observing their activity can help you better understand what they’re doing while on a social or gaming platform. Ask them questions: Who are they chatting with? Do they know the person? What are they saying? Engaging in open dialogue about your child’s online habits will keep you informed so you can better help them stay safe when on the web.
Talk to Your Kids
Always engage your child in conversation about their Internet use, you will be surprised at how much you can learn from them regarding the Internet. When communicating be sure to listen, let your child talk and don’t cut them off. Some parents may feel that what their child is doing online is silly, which it may be. However, a parent should never treat their child’s passions as a joke, take what they say seriously. The more interest you show in what they are doing the more open they will be with you. Having this open line of communication will help your child be more comfortable coming to in case something bad does happen to them online.
Don’t use Screen Time as a Pacifier
Being a parent is a full-time job and can often raise stress levels. When your child is complaining or throwing a fit, don’t take the easy way out and stick them in front of a screen. This encourages poor behavior as you are rewarding them for their actions. Screen time should be a privilege, not a tool used to keep children quiet.
Try some of these tips so next time your child logs on, you can be confident in their security and safety.
Internet Safety For Children: Solutions to Common Parent Concerns
This app helps parents control the duration of their child’s device use. Dinner Time allows parents to budget their child’s time on the device and disables the device after a certain time. This allows kids to get proper sleep, have time for homework, and, of course, get to the dinner table and engage with their family.
This versatile app allows for parents to block inappropriate web pages, keep track of app downloads on all of the family’s devices, and limit Internet usage. This app also gives parents an overview of all your child’s devices, allowing for easy monitoring of their activity.
Both apps are available for download in both Android and Apple app stores.
This app is interesting because it takes screenshots of your child’s internet activity which you can view on your phone. Screenshots are taken every minute and are stored for up to 48 hours so you can view exactly what your child is doing online. Watchover also gathers data on which apps are being used and for how long.
This app is iOS exclusive and can only be purchased on the Apple App Store
What do you do to keep your child safe during browsing? Do you have any rule to improve Internet Safety For Children while they are online? Do share with me by commenting below.