Children are vulnerable to numerous dangers online as they have limited capacity to make out the good from the bad. Their innocence is often misused and they are easily persuaded to perform various unwanted actions. It is the duty of every parent to protect the online safety of their children until they reach a certain age. Here are five things every parent should do to succeed in this task.
Monitor the Children’s Online Activity
Use various parental control apps to monitor children’s online activity. Train the children below ten years of age to use the kid’s version of YouTube, Facebook messenger, and other age-appropriate versions of all services.
Use apps like Bark, Norton Family, and NetNanny to monitor your children’s internet activities constantly. Check the updates given by the parental control and customize their settings to monitor:
- Chat messages
- Social media accounts
- Logins in the computer
- Smartphone usage or gaming
- General browsing habits
- Movies or shows they watch
- Webcam activities
- People they connect online with
- Services they use (like online shopping, etc.)
It is hard and sometimes impossible to monitor everything closely for parents. But the modern parental control apps give parents a warning when sexual, violent content or swear words are used on any of these platforms over a particular limit.
Children should always know their online activities are monitored by their parents. It will enable them to act with fear and responsibility as they will feel ashamed if they get caught watching embarrassing content on the internet.
Educate children regarding online dangers
Educate children regarding various dangers lurking online and how it will affect their future and compromise the security of the family.
- Always insist that children should come to you first if they suspect anything fishy about an account, an unwanted adult website pops up in their recommendation or somebody is rude to them online.
- Teach children not to agree to unwanted webcam requests at any cost and contact you or other elders in the house if someone forces them.
- Children should know how to contact the police or childline if they need help because of online bullying and not to yield to peer pressure making them do things they are not comfortable with.
- Warn them strictly about stranger danger and the numerous dangers online friendships might bring them. They should never disclose any personal information about themselves just because their game mate asked.
- Talk to the children about the dangers of revealing credit card details of their parents, mobile numbers, home alarm codes, and passwords of the other family members. Tell them about possible outcomes of exposing such sensitive information and teach them to deny such requests when they encounter them online.
- Warn children never to accept online gifts like extra game life, or free content of some sort, shopping coupons, and extra data recharge from anybody other than parents. They should be strictly prohibited from receiving such favors online as those may be a way of extracting information in return.
- The children should never disclose details about their siblings when they are alone at the home or the way to their home etc. Parents should strictly forbid them from disclosing such information to anyone personally and online.
Share Your Knowledge Regarding Online Safety
- Talk to children and tell them about various data security issues present in the world. Tell them about the latest viral content that spread numerous malware to whomever it was shared with.
- Warn them with examples, like how one kid gave all detail about his teenage sister to his online friend playing video games with him. The person started to stalk the kid’s sister and even kidnapped her knowing her parents weren’t home for a long time that night. The stories better be real and taken from trusted sources.
- Kids like to be given responsibility and treated like an adult. Telling them such stories and showing that you trust and believe in еруь will encourage them to stay safer online.
- Teach them to use the Nuwber website to find out the information about various people like the neighbors, a new vendor in the region, etc. Make sure they check the details of any new contact or friend to see whether those are not fraudsters and criminals.
- Keep them warned about email security and teach them never to open an email attachment if it is from an unknown person.
- Show them newspaper clippings and YouTube videos regarding massive losses caused due to data breaches and warn them to keep all their personal and private data safe, use a password manager, and never expose the passwords to unknown people.
Sharing your knowledge with them and listening to the concerns they raise about safety will help you create a cohesive, safe environment where everybody is a contributor to a safer future.
Explore the Internet Together with Them
Explore the internet together and teach them what not to see and what to follow. Make them unsubscribe from the swearing video game YouTubers. Show them various arts, music, and language development classes available in abundance on the internet.
Encourage the children to use them and develop their talent or skill instead of just playing video games or watching movies and posting on Instagram. Introduce them to NatGeo, Discovery, and BBC Earth channels online which provide hours of educational and fun content for the kids.
The child should be able to distinguish the bad from the good through training and care-filled guidance.
Set Rules and Impose Them Strictly
Set strict rules regarding limited screen time, particular data usage in a day, and impose them strongly. Teenagers should be taught not to over-share on their social media and dating apps. They should develop the habit of asking permission before they befriend someone online.
Teenagers should be trained from a young age to come forward to share everything they do online with their siblings or parents for extra safety. Never yield to your kids’ tantrums or coercion regarding more screen time or data, private screen time, or using the smartphone or laptop alone without parental monitoring.