In this technologically advance age, almost no one is a stranger to smartphones, smart home or smart anything really. And it seems as though everything is being done via the Internet. From, getting groceries to ordering food to binge watching your favorite soaps, there seems like the isn’t anything that the Internet doesn’t have.
Kids are also actively taking part in this technological step forward. They’re on video streaming sites, watching their favorite toy reviews, on social media networks of sorts, connecting with mates and new friends from far and wide, on a multitude of different game platforms, talking to other players from all over the globe.
They’re spending almost all of their childhood and teenage years on the internet. And they don’t show any signs of slowing down. But, the question that we should be asking is, are they 100% safe when having an online presence? As parents and guardians, we should take steps towards being more involved in making sure that our kids are protected while surfing the Internet
Get To Know Their Cyberworld
While we adults are still struggling with our Facebook, the kids have moved on to more complex and tech-forward social media connections via Instagram and Snapchat. These social media platforms rely on personal sharing of images and videos and your young one may be compelled to constantly post snippets of their lives to their friends. The key here is to figure out the workings of these “new-age” social media platforms and determine where your child may be left vulnerable to online predators.
Show your children how to protect themselves online. Teach them that “stuff” like names, address, location and social security/ identification numbers should never be disclosed under any circumstances. Remind them about dangers of meeting their online “friends” and throw in a few case studies to strengthen your points. And for the online shopping addict, do advise them never to disclose account or credit card numbers and to always keep their pin under wraps when making purchases online.
Try to set some rules in place. Limit their social media and time spent on social media and help them decide which would be the safest social media platform for them to use. Also, have a list of sites that they can visit without supervision. And, for the others, you can choose to either set parental locks to them or get your kid to ask your permission before surfing the site. Don’t forget to enforce these rules strictly and ensure they are aware of the consequences of breaking the rules.
Remind Them That You’re Always There
Always show your kids that you will be there no matter what they’re going through. Get them to open up to you about their online life and friend circle. Keep an open communication about their social life and who they interact with online. Never overreact, blame or reprimand them, should they be facing issues with their online presence or are being harassed by someone in the cyberworld.
Use Security Softwares
Keep technology on your side. There are a variety of online security and parental control softwares that you can use and keep your children safe from pornography, phishing content and data extracting robots and viruses. There are also softwares that can help you record your child’s online sessions and store them in a hidden file. You can then later replay their sessions to see if anything fishy is going on.
As the adults, it is our duty to ensure that the children are safe when they go about their way on the Internet. Always keep a close eye on their online presence and the information that they choose to divulge publicly. Give them a constant reminder that people are watching, be it friends or people with evil intentions and that they have to be wary of how they choose to present themselves online.
If you suspect that your child may be talking to a dangerous person such as a pedophile or drug dealer, you can always run a quick check with their name. These predators usually give out some of their real information as they assume that kids and teems would not have the means to track them. Be a vigilant parent and guardian and keep your child safe online.