Tips for Kids to Stay Safe Online
Many children today were born in the digital age and are unaware of the risks of their exposure to the internet. These days, parents have the additional task of protecting their children’s safety and privacy each time they use the internet.
The Internet is an excellent place for children to learn, get information, have fun, and communicate with friends. We should enjoy the positive aspects of online reality, but we must recognize the negative ones, especially regarding children’s safety.
One of the most significant risks is being exposed to inappropriate content. CyberGhost’s guide on protecting kids online explains that inappropriate content includes adult material, sexual content, and upsetting information or images. It’s essential to protect kids from getting to pictures or video games with graphic violence, pornographic material, unmoderated chat rooms, or sites that encourage crime, self-harm, racism, or suicide.
Other than inappropriate content, children can experience cyberbullying and online predators.
These are the platforms where kids can be easily exposed to the above-mentioned online risks. The NY Times article reveals that 64 percent of tweens (8-11 years old) reported watching online videos daily. Thirty-eight percent of them said they used social media.
Social networks are fun for children to chat with friends, especially if they are geographically distant. Unfortunately, on these platforms, children can very quickly become targets of online predators or cyberbullying.
Online predators are adults who connect with children and teens on the internet to exploit them for sexual or violent purposes. Social networks are not the only place to be aware of online predators. Children are neither safe on cell phones nor video game consoles.
Cyberbullying includes mobbing, stalking, trolling, grooming, or any form of online abuse.
How to protect them?
- Always check that the content your kids are exposed to is age-appropriate
Websites, online movies, and games all have age ratings to help you decide which ones are appropriate for your kid. You can always adjust parental controls to suit your child’s age and check security settings on social media.
Familiarize your kids with online safety and build it into other conversations. Teach your children that strangers, including e-mail, messengers, social networks, and games, can appear anywhere. It’s also essential for your child to trust you and report any strange online behavior to you.
Also, educate yourself and understand the games your children play online, and check with other parents about internet use, such as what they do and don’t allow.
- Set rules
Some tools like parental control settings can also help you monitor the access and use of your devices. Set boundaries as a family to define the time for your child to spend online and what they can do.
- Ask questions
Ask your children who they talk to online and which sites they visit. The children must know that they can confide in you.
Raising children is scary, especially in the digital age, but remember that there are tools that can minimize potential risks in person and online. Allow children to enjoy the benefits of technology without compromising their safety.