A few decades ago, kids lived on the streets. They played basketball, hide and seek, baseball,
and other games all day and all night. The internet has changed things. Now, kids are playing the
NBA video game alongside going out and shooting some hoops. That means kids need to understand how to stay safe inside and out – but why is internet safety important for kids to understand in particular?
This is a collaborative post.
Of course, the internet is a wonderful place. We’re all using it to talk to our friends, shop, learn,
and play games from time to time. Children are using it for the same things too. But the internet
is not a place that’s safe from hackers, identity thieves, and predators. In order to ensure your kids are
safe online, we need to teach them about cyber threats and online safety from an early age.
Sometimes, like in the case of Blue Whale, kids become targeted by predators and are caused
to do actual harm to themselves or others. Being a parent means you’ll have to teach them
about the dangers they could experience and learn more about security yourself.
Why is internet safety important: a few guidelines to follow
Now that every kid has a smartphone monitoring what they’re doing is challenging. Kids,
especially teens, will definitely encounter obscene words and even pornography online. If
they’re not careful in their behavior, they might become targets of cyberbullying and even get
harassed in school. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your child will see everything that’s on the
web, but it’s essential to keep it into consideration and make better decisions.
One of the first things you could do is set some standards. Telling them what you expect and
placing some rules is essential. Kids always want to test the limits. If you don’t put any
restraints, they will probably do something wrong either because they are curious or because
they don’t know better.
Teaching them about personal information should also be on the top of your list. People talk
about everything in-game lobbies. A stranger may try to get an address, credit card, or phone
number by sparking a basic conversation. Apart from game lobbies, it’s easy for a criminal to
create a fake Facebook or Instagram profile. They will be able to see everything that gets
posted. For that reason, you need to teach your young ones to only post images and videos that
the entire world can see.
Lastly, you want to be the person they come to if they ever encounter a problem. Hiding it only
makes it worse. Even if your kid is doing everything, you ask of them, an ad or a pop-up from a
random site could lead them to adult content. That doesn’t mean it’s their fault. Instead, teach
them why that happens and how they can avoid it later.
How can you minimize the risks?
No matter how hard you try, your kids will be exposed to nudity and obscene language online. If
that doesn’t happen at home, some friend at school will show them, or they can use another
computer or device.
One great tactic when they’re still little is to put their console or laptop in the living room. That
way, you can glance at what they’re doing from time to time. When they grow up to be
teenagers, they’ll probably have learned how to distinguish right from wrong.
Though PCs in the living room can help – there are so many ways to get on to the internet this, isn’t foolproof by any means. So we need to get as savvy as the kids…!
Installing a VPN and an antivirus is a great combo to reduce risks when there are so many options for our kids to connect in our home. VPN meaning is simple – it is a virtual private network. Since most children know nothing about malware and IP addresses, they can fall for scams, viruses, and phishing links. Ensure they’re not using your main computer filled with your personal information. The VPN will make them invisible online while the antivirus scans the device for potential malware files.
You can also try using parental controls. Modern operating systems like Windows and Mac have
the option to set up website restrictions and time limits. That way, you will have more control
over which apps they’re using.
Finally, remember that you can’t protect them from the world as it is. The internet is like a
double-edged sword. It could be used for good or bad. Instead of restricting every website they
encounter, teach them how to be mindful, and foster critical thinking. These skills will help them
navigate the world better.
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If you are interested in other content on eSafety, do check these articles out from the site as well:
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