Children: you love them, sometimes shout at them, play with them, but above all, you want to protect them. Looking out for playground dangers and rusted iron bars is no longer sufficient. As if the warning about accepting candies from strangers wasn’t enough, now you have to teach them about the dangers of accepting friend requests and invites from strangers as well. What a world we live in! Here are 5 Ways to Protect Your Child While They Are Online.
The traditional yoyo, action figure, or board game is no longer enough to satisfy your child’s entertainment needs. His friend has an awesome gaming tablet, why shouldn’t he own it too? You know all too well why he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t understand. You cannot eradicate all access to devices and the Internet, but you can make sure that your child is well equipped with the knowledge of what to avoid and what to engage in while they are online.
How will you do that?
That’s what this article will explore.
Practical Steps to ensure your child’s safety online.
- Educate yourself
Learn about the potential threats yourself before you educate your kids. Isn’t that obvious? If you don’t know about a threat’s existence, you cannot educate your children about it. And understand this, online threats are very real. It’s not a sham of the government trying to scare you and take up their schemes. Online threats can endanger the privacy and safety of your family, cause extreme discomfort, leak sensitive information, not to mention identity thefts and unauthorised use of your credentials.
There’s much more to it, but you get the point.
- Childlock and parental settings
This is an amazing family-friendly feature that has been incorporated into technological devices in recent years. Be it computer, phone, tablet, there’s always a setting that automatically restricts a child’s access to certain software, applications, web addresses, and anything that you add manually that is seemingly dangerous for your child. All you need to do is turn on this parental setting.
There are many helpful custom settings in parental apps. A timer to decide how long your child uses the device, restricted access, alert notifications to your account when your child accesses something suspicious which may have passed discreetly under the child lock’s settings. In all, it’s a great feature for online family safety.
- The dangers of social media
There are innumerable studies that prove social media use on young minds is very detrimental to the psychological, moral, and emotional growth of the child. It desensitises children to content that is way, way above their level of understanding and maturity. The dopamine release that accompanies every post, like, and message creates an addiction in children and adults alike. If adults have difficulty dealing with social media addiction, what of children then?
The wisest decision is to not allow your child on social media handles. But in case they are already acquainted with what it is and how it works, your job is to educate them on its correct use, warn them against stranger interactions and relaying personal information like phone numbers, home address, bank details (they shouldn’t be aware of your financial information at such a young age in the first place), account passwords, and personal photos. These are just some to name a few private details.
Instagram is no longer that innocent platform where you upload some photos and get likes from family and friends. The amount of desensitised media flooding social media handles has increased a lot over the years.
The threats of cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation are carried out through social media and their messaging platforms.
If any suspicious person attempts contact through social media, you can use Nuwber to look up their identity and check whether the person is legit.
Social media is an absolute no for your child’s online safety.
- Financial information and shopping websites
Last week your daughter mentioned an expensive dollhouse; a few hours with the phone in her hands and the next thing you know you’re getting a bill for 100 USD on your email that you didn’t initiate.
It’s not her fault. She just pressed some random buttons. It’s your job to make sure they can’t access any financial information when they use your devices. That goes to say, don’t allow them to browse shopping websites unless you’re keeping a watch while they scroll their favourite toys or video games.
- Websites, scams, and safe Internet surfing
This is where things get technical, even for technology. This is where you have to learn about network URLs, phishing scams, telemarketing frauds, and fake web links. Installing antivirus software and a seamless VPN will also protect your family.
Websites with a secured connection that encrypt your data and protect it from unforeseen breaches have HTTPS at the beginning of their web addresses. The S at the end means your connection to the website is secured and data won’t be parcelled off to any uninvited guests trying to breach your private online activity.
Web browsers over time have built in a feature that has a small pop up next to the web address that warns the user in case the web address is not secured.
You have to teach your children not to click on links with unusual website addresses that copy names of genuine websites. They shouldn’t have access to emails in the first place, but if they do, they need to learn how to recognise fraudulent emails from scams and telemarketers so that they don’t fall into their web.
A good parental lock will make sure that your children cannot access email accounts or anything you wish to restrict. VPNs will protect your IP address and antivirus will prevent unintended malware and viruses from invading your computer data and network.
Installing these safeguards and educating your children falls into your hands.
Online threats are real. Implementing practical steps in ensuring your child’s online safety from now means a safe and secure Internet time and a smart, capable child who will stand out and spread awareness among peers and friends. It promotes healthy living, as strange as it sounds, but it’s the right thing to do.