The Internet is one of the most useful learning tools ever devised. However, it is fraught with danger, particularly for children. In fact, there have been numerous reports of child cyberbullying, pornography, and computer bullying. As a result, it is critical for parents to be concerned about their children’s safety as they begin to explore the online world. Obviously, this is not an easy task, especially given that we cannot be present every time our children access the internet. As a result, rather than spying on them, the solution is to provide them with the tools they need to learn to defend themselves.
Guides for Teaching your Children to Surf the Web Safely
1. Explain to your child the dangers of Internet use.
Sit down with your child and discuss the dangers that lurk on the Internet. Explain the network’s options while also indicating the risks to which it may be exposed. It is critical that you discuss the importance of passwords with them because, despite being the first rule of Internet security, a study conducted by Teenangels of WiredSafety discovered that 66% of children admit to having given their password to someone else at some point. Similarly, it is critical that you explain to him that not everything in the virtual world is real and that he can come across fake people or websites, so it is best to avoid them when in doubt.
2. Accompany your child when he first connects to the Internet.
Most children are enthralled by the possibilities available on the Internet. Many people, however, are unaware of how to navigate the internet and take advantage of the educational opportunities that it provides. As a result, it is critical that you teach him how to use the Internet more quickly, efficiently, and safely. You can also use this opportunity to teach him how to protect his identity and privacy, as well as which websites are safe and how he should behave on social media.
3. Create rules that restrict Internet access.
Internet access, like the rest of the activities that the child does on a daily basis, must be governed by a set of rules, with clear access limits. You can reduce the likelihood that your child will become easy prey on the Internet or develop an addiction in this manner. For example, you must establish reasonable rules based on their age, such as the hours they can spend on the Internet, the amount of time they can spend browsing, and the websites they can access. Similarly, it is more convenient for the child to access the Internet from a computer in a visible location in the house.
4. Avoid disclosing too much personal information.
Children have a tendency to develop excellent computer skills in a short period of time, but this does not mean that they are aware of the hidden dangers that exist on the Internet. As a result, in many cases, they become an easy target for cyberbullies. As a result, it is critical that you explain why you should not reveal too much personal information on social media or any other website. Inform them that their personal information consists of their full name, address, and phone number. It’s also a good idea to double-check the photos you upload to the Internet.
5. Keep track of your online activities.
It is critical that you trust your child after you have established clear rules for Internet browsing. You can, however, monitor his activities, at least the first few times he goes online. It is important to note that the goal is not to violate your privacy by spying on your browsing history, but rather to ensure that you maintain appropriate behaviour that does not jeopardize your security. You can, for example, access their social media accounts as a friend and see what types of content they publish.
Internet Threats and Dangers Posed to Children
During the pandemic, children spend more time online and are more vulnerable to potential hazards. Online, children face a wide range of threats and dangers, including:
- Content that is inappropriate for a child’s age or content that is harmful to a child. For example, an explicit advertisement in a free game, a cartoon character in an adult setting, or a forum discussing topics not appropriate for children.
- Radicalization. Exposure to radical or extreme viewpoints, whether political, religious, sexist, or racist.
- Inadvertent malware download. Malware is a type of computer software that is installed without the victim’s knowledge or permission and performs harmful actions on the computer. People are frequently duped into downloading malware by cybercriminals. One method is phishing, but there are others (such as convincing victims to download malware disguised as games) that can be especially appealing to children. Securing cybersecurity software for all devices and related protection can assist in protecting your computer from malware such as that.
- They are disclosing far too much personal information about themselves on the internet. On the Internet, it’s easy to feel anonymous, and children may be unaware of the implications of their digital footprint. They may, for example, post personally identifiable information that should not be posted on their social media strategy.
- Cyberbullying. Cyberstalking can range from sending threatening messages or jokes via email, text message, social media, or Instant Messaging to hacking an email account or committing identity theft online in order to hurt or humiliate someone.
- Grooming or pedophile ruse. Children may not be aware of who they are conversing with. Cyber exploitation can include sending sexually suggestive material or messages to a child in order to entice them to meet in person. Predators may persuade a child to participate in inappropriate activities at the criminal’s direction or to take photos or videos to send, which could then be used to threaten or extort the child.
- Advertisement and in-app purchases are subject to additional fees. Children may be unaware of the hidden commercial aspect of games, apps, and websites. For example, mobile games persuade children to use their parents’ credit cards to purchase virtual goods while they play. In the class action lawsuits, these games were dubbed “fishhook applications.”
- Phishing. That is, emails that entice recipients to click on links or attachments containing malicious content. This is especially dangerous for children because the email may appear to be from someone they know, such as a friend or family member. It can also be done via messaging apps or text messages, a practice known as “smishing.”