How Can Children Stay Safe While Navigating The Online World?
Around 20% of teens have met up with an online friend in person, and around one in four stalking victims have also been cyberstalked. These statistics are just two of many that highlight the importance of teaching children how to use the Internet safely. It begins with helping children and teens understand how quick and irrevocable the consequences of sharing personal information online can be.
By keeping your children informed, setting ground rules, and relying on online safety software and apps, you can ensure that your child never has to put up with the devastation of being harassed online. It also helps to foster their interest in art and fun activities that do not involve screen time.
- Sharing Important Facts - Children who are mature enough to surf the web, chat with others, and play online games should also be aware of the dangers they may encounter. You can mention a few cases you have read about, mention a few key statistics, and let children know the long term effects that cyberbullying can have on a person’s health and wellbeing.
This can be the basis for exploring privacy settings with your child, or letting them know why you would like to know their passwords for the sites they use.
- Laying Down Ground Rules - Anonymity is vital when your children are playing online games. Minors should only interact online or play games with friends you know and trust. When online, they should remain anonymous, using a nickname and making it a point never to provide their name, address, telephone number, or any other information that could be used to identify them.
Children should also be told never to meet anyone they have met online - which is arguably one of the most important rules regarding Internet safety. This is because criminals or groomers frequently infiltrate popular kids’ apps or social networks, taking a long time to establish trust. They often offer children something they desire (such as a game, console, or other tempting item), asking to meet in person unbeknownst to the child’s parents.
It should be made very clear that the people behind these activities are skilled at seeming harmless, and often lie about their age so kids trust them..
- Top Apps For Online Safety - In addition to selecting privacy with your children, you can also consider specific apps that help you to supervise your child’s Internet use. Look into apps like SafetoNet (which uses machine learning to let parents know if their child is being targeted by groomers), MinorMonitor (which allows parents to view photos in which their children are tagged), and Net Nanny (which enables parents of multi-child families to set different privacy settings for each child depending on their age).
Keeping your child safe online is a daily task that involves several tactics. These include setting ground rules for children and informing them why the Internet can be dangerous. It also includes monitoring children via dedicated apps and software, and taking action quickly if any unsafe activity is suspected.