The internet is an excellent place for children to learn and explore new things. Though it has a lot to offer children on good terms, there are many risks your children face every time they go online.
According to CyberGhost’s report, cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and online predators are some of the most common risks children may face on the internet.
Furthermore, the easiest way parents can keep their children safe online is by monitoring their online activities. But that is not an easy task! Children might feel like they are invading their privacy, and it can create mistrust.
Therefore, parents need to know the risks for their children and how they can be protected. Here is a guide to help you know how to protect your child online.
Online Threats To Children
1. Inappropriate Content
The most common threat children are exposed to nowadays is inappropriate content. As children are becoming more active online, the chances that they come across something inappropriate for their age also increase. Inappropriate content not just includes sexual content. It may also include the following things:
- Pornographic material,
- Videos, games, or images with graphic violence,
- Explicit language content,
- Gambling sites,
- Unmoderated chat rooms,
- Sites encouraging harmful activities such as terrorism, suicide, racism, self-harm, and more.
Cyberbullying includes abusive communications through digital channels such as instant messaging, and social media posts. It can be very distressing for children. With online bullying, your child can be bullied anytime and anywhere. The abuse contains the following.
- Defamation and rumors,
- Threats and intimidation,
- Rejection from online chats or groups,
- Manipulation and extortion,
- Identify hacking accounts and thefts,
- Staking and harassment,
- Posting personal or secret information publicly.
3. Online Predators
Your child may come across online predators. Such online predators use fake identities or profiles to build an emotional connection with young targets. Their main aim is to gain the trust of such young children by giving gifts or pretending to have similar interests. This might further result in a sexual conversation or asking for explicit images from the young targets.
How To Keep Your Child Protected From Online Threats?
1. Navigating The Internet Safely
The first and most important thing is to teach your child how to navigate the internet safely. You can turn on Google SafeSearch and YouTube Safe Mode to get only age-appropriate results and protect your child.
2. Protect Your Child Against Online Predators
You need to protect your children against online predators. You can educate your child about common signs someone may be a predator and encourage them to avoid any communication with strangers. Teach them appropriate online behavior and ask them to discuss it with you if they encounter any such issue.
3. Discuss Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is becoming a major concern these days. You need to explain to your child what cyberbullying is and how can it affect them. You can discuss with your children what sorts of conversations are acceptable and not. Tell them that cyberbullies might act friendly in the beginning but later on, they can make them feel uncomfortable and distressed. So, try to make an honest and open conversation so that your child shares things with you.
4. Keep A Check On Online Interactions
If you are giving access to your children to an email or social media account, try having access to their accounts. You can use parental control applications to get rid of such problems. You can check their accounts but let them also know about it as this can help to build mutual trust. You can even set boundaries and time limits for screen time to avoid such online threats.
Protect Your Child On Social Media
As the popularity of social media platforms is increasing, your child may also get attracted to them and thus think about creating an account. So, you can take care of the following things to keep your child protected online on social media.
- Teach your children to be kind. You can tell them to always talk to others with respect, and in case they face any issues related to bullying or abuse, they can report it to you or the administrators.
- Posting content is another thing you need to focus on. You need to tell them that if they post, or anything else online, it will still be there somewhere. So, they need to think carefully before posting something on social media.
- You can teach them about privacy settings. Tell them about two-factor authentication and strong passwords to stay away from identity theft. Also, tell them not to share any credentials with anyone online.
- Another thing that you need to teach them is not to talk to strangers online. They need to avoid any interaction with strangers, and if they are confused, they must talk to you.
As a parent, it is important to know about the common online threats that have become quite popular these days, such as cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and much more. So, the best way to overcome these issues can be to have an open discussion with your child. You can teach them about the most common online threats and enable parental control apps to check on your child’s online activities. Teach them how to navigate the internet safely and how to be respectful towards others.