Parents are always ready with a first-aid kit for their children’s physical injuries. But what about their online safety? While a scraped knee may be easy to spot, online threats can be more elusive. What if your children is trapping themselves on the online web? Can you bring them back from that trap?
With the advancement of technology, children are exposed to many dangers online, such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and inappropriate content.
According to statistics from Internet Matters, children by the age of 15 are likely to have seen pornographic material online. And 59% of US teens have been cyberbullied or threatened online.
Looking at the data, you might be scared of what if your children join the data. Scary thought, right?
Don’t worry; you can prevent them from happening in the first place with proactive measures. So, stay one step ahead by teaching your child about online safety. By reading the article below, you will get to learn how to keep your kid safe online.
Why do kids need protection on the Internet?
The Internet is full of opportunities. Children use the Internet to learn new things. But it has several adverse effects too. Children are not aware of the dangers that the internet poses. And that is why you need to protect your kid online.
Some of the potential dangers of the internet are given below.
Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Kids love to wander around the internet, but the more your kids spend time on it, the more parents get worried. It’s because when children spend time surfing the internet, they can get exposed to inappropriate content.
Kids often get exposed to such explicit content through web browser pop-up ads. And sometimes, kids themselves search for inappropriate content due to curiosity. In the end, your child can suffer from a loss of overall development. Your teen also can get information about bullying, drug abuse, and other negative activities from these contents.
You know, once posted on the internet is always on the internet. So think before sharing pictures, documents, videos, or even text messages because identity theft is at a high peak.
The main motive of identity theft is to get personal information from individuals. They use that information and steal your financial credentials. Don’t make the mistake of providing your detailed personal information on social media sites. Keep everything private.
Cyberbullying and harassment
The news of children becoming victims of online predators, harassment, and cyberbullying is increasing day by day. And that’s why you must protect your kids on the internet.
People can target your child and bully them on the internet. It is the same as bullying in schools or parks. The only difference is it all happens online. In cyberspace, kids are easy targets, so kids often get harassed and bullied more than others.
Your child can get malicious messages, calling by offensive names, sending explicit images, blackmailing, trolling, negative comments, etc., online. And it has serious consequences on your children’s health. Your children can suffer emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Your children are at risk of becoming victims of these potential hazards. So you must use some tips and protect them.
7 ways to keep your kids safe online
Though there are a plethora of internet safety tips, here we will discuss the top 7 ways. However, before that, ask yourself is the internet really necessary for your kid. Before questioning internet safety for 10 year olds kids, ask yourself why your kid uses it and for what purpose s/he is using it.
If it is reasonable to use the internet for them, use the tips below to keep your kids safe online.
1. Don’t share personal information online
Tell your children not to share too much personal data in the online world. Hackers or sex offenders might misuse those data and being problems in your child’s life.
Further, children are likely to share confidential data and try to buy games and do the shopping for whatever they see in advertising. And in the process of doing that, your children’s data might get exposed to third-party applications.
So, tell your children not to give personal information such as a home address, email, password of any accounts, bank account number, ATM pin code, not even a birthdate on social media sites or any other platforms. Sharing confidential information is risky.
2. Set Ground Rules
The first and foremost thing that parents should do to keep their kids online safe is set ground rules. So before you give mobile devices or computers to your children, set ground rules and tell them what to do and what not to do.
Assign them their online time and set limits on it. If you let your children use the internet without a time limit, they may use it for a long time and drift into undesirable parts of the web.
If your kid is a pre-schooler, you should stay with them when they are using the internet. Also, it is good to set up computers in a common area. Don’t let them use devices inside a closed room. Furthermore, tell your children to follow the privacy rules while communicating through messages or posts.
Further, inform your children not to talk with strangers. And if they find anything suspicious that upsets them, tell them to inform you.
3. Use parental controls and filtering software
In today’s digital world, parental controls and filtering software are the most necessary things that provide Internet safety for parents. You can’t always be there to monitor your children’s internet activities.
Use parental control software to monitor social media messages, and text messages, track GPS locations, limit screen time, filter content, block certain websites, and block porn on your child’s device.
Additionally, if you do not know how to keep your child safe on social media, parental control applications can help. You can see with whom your children are chatting, what type of messages they are exchanging, whom they are following, and how many hours they spend on social media. And parents can do all of this remotely and without letting them know.
Further, you can see where your children are going using the GPS tracker features offered by parental controls. So that even if your children are out of the home, you can see what your children are doing on their phones. There are several apps to monitor your kid’s smartphone; choose one of them and start monitoring.
4. Have safe and open communication
Though parental control applications are effective solutions that provide internet safety for students or kids, nothing can beat open and safe communication. It’s because though you supervise your kid’s internet action when they are at home, you can’t do it every time. What if they use their friend’s phone?
Rather than getting worried perpetually about kids’ online safety, it’s best to have open communication about the internet all time. Educate them on the risk of the online world, and let them know not everyone and everything on the Internet are trustworthy. Tell them the risk that they can suffer when things go wrong.
Further, when you let your children know about online safety at a very early age, they will come to you and ask for your suggestion when they encounter something fishy.
5. Lead by Examples
Children are more likely to follow what parents are doing. If you want your children to be safe online, then you must be respectable and cautious when you are online. And always pose positive online behavior. It includes limiting screen time.
You should encourage your children to be respectful and kind to classmates and avoid them from joining video calls from their bedrooms. Main importantly, you should not share login passwords with anyone. If you do so, the child will also not share it with anyone, not even with friends.
Teach them the risk of sharing passwords with others. And don’t forget to create strong and different passwords for different sites. If it is difficult for your children to remember passwords of the different sites, they can use password manager tools.
Further, when you share pictures of your child on social media platforms, ensure your profile is ‘private’ or ‘friends’ only. So that other strangers can’t misuse those pictures.
Educate your kid to be proactive by taking the necessary steps themselves.
6. Teach your children how to take action by themselves
Though your child is not sharing offensive and secretive content, teach them how to report it if they see someone doing that.
In this way, when your children find anything offensive or inappropriate, they will report such content. Also, teach them how to block someone or some sites. So if someone sends them an inappropriate message or explicit content or starts misbehaving either in messages or posts, they can block them on their own.
7. Tell your child to think before clicking
“CLICK IT,” “OFFER,” “LOTTERY,” etc., are some words that catch everyone’s attention. So scammers and hackers often use this word to create phishing links. But adults are less likely to click on such links because they know nothing is free on the internet, and there are scammers right there to trap.
And on the other hand, children can click on such links. So tell your child never to click on such links. Even if their friends send such suspicious links, it’s not a good practice to click on them. Further, download files on a computer or phone only from safe sites.
Parents can’t stop themselves from worrying about what children are doing when they leave their children, even for some hours alone in the house. They teach their children what to do and what not to do. Then how can parents let their children roam online without letting them know online safety tips?
It is must necessary for parents to keep their kids safe online. To do that, parents should teach some healthy online tips before their child enter the online world.
Parents must equip themselves with knowledge and tools to ensure their children’s digital safety. The first step is to have an open and honest conversation with our kids about the risks and how to protect themselves online. We should also set up parental controls on their devices and monitor child’s online activities.
You can keep your child safe online by applying the above safety tips for kids. After applying the safety measures, children can enjoy the benefits of online classes, chat with their friends, and visit sites without getting worried.
However, these tips are never enough. You should communicate with your children from time to time regarding what they are doing online and if everything is okay with them or not.