The internet offers many options, ranging from chatting to playing games and reading about intriguing topics. But while it’s fun, you need to employ caution while browsing the web and think about online safety. A single wrong move can have big consequences, and that especially applies to children.
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Before you let your kid into the virtual world, it’s important to understand potential threats lurking there and consider online safety factors. Our guide discusses dangers that exist online and shares tips to boost kids’ safety!
Online safety: Top Threats Children Face Online
Knowing your opponent will help prepare the right tactics to fight them. In the virtual world, children face specific and serious threats. Here’s what they should pay attention to when online.
Cyberbullying is similar to “regular” bullying since it involves sending harmful, false, or negative information or insulting someone. The difference is this type of bullying occurs in the virtual world.
According to Enough.org, almost every second young person (47%) has received nasty or threatening messages online. The common platforms for cyberbullying are social media and online gaming. Children often receive humiliating messages while playing games on the web. That can quickly turn a pleasant experience into something the kid wants to forget.
2. Online Predators
Children are innocent and naive, making them vulnerable to online predators. These people look to initiate contact with children on gaming websites or social media. After establishing communication, they develop trust.
Their intention could be meeting in real life, which could have serious consequences. Predators often demand sensitive photos from children and abuse them in other ways. Children often fail to realize these people aren’t their friends, and this is one of the biggest online safety issues parents need to think about.
3. Sharing Sensitive Information
The experts strongly advise all social media users to keep their profiles private. It’s imperative for children to make sure their profiles are only visible to friends. Posting sensitive information on social media could lead to various problems.
Revealing their current location leaves kids open to predators, and sharing images allows others to download the photos and use them for identity theft. And if a kid shares the entire family is going on vacation, that could put your home on the radar of robbers.
4. Phishing, Malware, and Other Scams
Phishing includes sending emails or messages that have malicious attachments or links. These often lead to accidentally installing malware on your computer. Malware can be a way for hackers to spy on your device and reach sensitive information.
Unfortunately, children are often unaware of the dangers of clicking on suspicious links. They could be tempted with titles like “try this cool game” to install harmful files on their devices.
Key Online Safety Tips
From a parent’s perspective, the approach will depend on the child’s age. Younger kids might not have the capacity to recognize threats. That makes installing the best parental monitoring apps a wise move. These allow receiving reports about your kids’ messages and calls but also alerts if any suspicious words appear. You can also filter websites they visit and even limit screen time.
Apart from monitoring your child and staying in the loop, here are some other tips that will keep them safe in the virtual world:
- Protecting internet profiles. Social media profiles should only be available to friends. Accounts on gaming sites can also contain false information, so go with a nickname like “Player One” instead of the real name.
- Never share personal info with strangers or accept them as friends. Children should be careful when communicating with strangers online. It’s best not to respond or stop chatting as soon as they notice anything weird. The experts advise kids shouldn’t accept anyone they don’t know as friends on social media.
- Install antivirus and firewall on your computer. Parents should do this before allowing their children to go online. It will help keep your computer safe from hackers.
- Never share passwords or account access. It’s that person’s profile only, and it’s best to stay that way. Additionally, using strong passwords will help prevent unwanted access.
- Always talk to your child and express interest. You can ask to stay by their side while they play or browse online. Expressing interest in websites they visit and their other internet activities can be helpful. Discuss how to act online regularly to ensure they reach an optimal understanding of desired behaviour.
Living without technology has become impossible. While you shouldn’t keep your children offline, helping them navigate the virtual world is imperative. Learning about threats and discussing them with your kids can help them behave better online.
It is crucial children can count on you as parents. Your kid should understand you are there to assist. It’s why supporting them and being there to answer any questions they might have is critical. That will help you stay in the loop and be informed about potential threats in the early stage!
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