Keeping Your Child Safe On The Internet: Tips for Parents
The views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Emergency Zone.
Guest Writer: Julie Hughes from Turn On VPN
Children know that there is so much that they can do from your or their computer, smartphone or tablet. What these children do not know is that this hub of information is also home to online predators, cyberbullies, hackers, phishing scams, malware and many other dangers.
The complexity of some of these dangers might be too difficult for them to digest right now. However, with a few handy tips, you can help your children raise their guard whenever they are online.
To help you do this, here’s a look at the online dangers to be vigilant about and actionable tips that will help you keep your child safe on the internet.
3 Risks Faced By Children Online
Access to inappropriate content
This is exposure to inappropriate content such as sexual images, videos, or sexual solicitation from online predators. This study released by ABC News indicates that most sexual predators hunt for their prey via email and in chat rooms.
The danger of this risk according to the study is that most children who become victims of the sexual advances do not mention it to their parents. If unchecked, a child may end up falling into the temptation of meeting the sexual predators in person and the potential consequences of this are dire.
A child can become a victim of online harassment. While the main feature between traditional bullying and cyberbullying is that they both are destructive, the effects of cyberbullying can last longer or have permanent repercussions. As they say, the internet never forgets.
It can be traumatic for children every time they read a message or content that reminds them of a cyberbullying experience.
Exposing personal information
Research shows that children as young as eight are sharing their personal information on their social media accounts. A child may not understand the importance of keeping some matters such as their home addresses, live or recorded videos, photos or phone numbers private. Disclosing too much information can expose children to cyberbullying. Private information can be used to track your children or to impersonate them on other platforms.
Now that you know the main risks that your child faces online, let’s talk about how you can help them stay safe.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Stay Safe On The Internet
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Keep your computer in a common room of the house
Keep a close eye on your children’s online activities by keeping their computer or any other internet device in a common area of the house. It will be embarrassing for children to try and access inappropriate content knowing that you are monitoring their activities.
Should they land such content erroneously, then you will be able to respond promptly.
Install a VPN on your kid's device
To keep off spies and intruders from your child’s network connection, install a VPN app for protection.
This is especially important if your children have the habit of connecting to public networks at school, restaurants, and shopping centers. These networks are often unprotected, meaning hackers can easily spy on your online activities.
However, this app secures all online interactions, making them invisible with a tunnel of encryption that keeps hackers away.
Have an open conversation with your children
Finally, make a habit of having consistent open conversations with your children. During these conversations, allow your child to talk about their online experiences. Steer these conversations in a manner that will make your child comfortable to share details and new experiences.
It is also important to educate your children about best practices online, such as not to post sensitive information on social media, not to interact with strangers, and creating secure passwords for their accounts.
More parents are already teaching their children about the essential money habits nowadays. However, as children have increasing access to online shopping sites and in-app purchases, parents should also teach them about best practices when they spend money online.
With many schools having closed due to the pandemic, students are spending more time online. I hope you will follow the tips discussed above to protect yours from the numerous risks they are exposed to.
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