Kids are probably the most vulnerable users of the Internet. They are frequently preyed upon by many people because they are not mature enough to protect themselves as effectively as the average adult is able to. Protecting them from being abused or violated demands that their parents, guardians, or siblings are extremely vigilant in monitoring the activities in which they engage when online. It also requires that the adults directly responsible for their care and protection, educate them on what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior on the World Wide Web. Due to the fact that children hold the key to the future, Internet safety for kids is extremely important.
The foundations of Internet security for kids
It is imperative that parents educate themselves about the threats which are out there before trying to educate their children about them. They also need to ensure that they build a relationship with their child which is predicated on trust. It is highly unlikely that any online safety strategy that a parent develops for their young one will succeed unless the child is willing to share everything that happens online with their parent. Both parties have to work in one accord to ensure that the child is not overly exposed to the various dangers which call the Internet home.
What is cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying is an emerging phenomenon in the online world. The term refers to the practice of using the Internet and its associated technologies to make another individual’s life uncomfortable by harassing them, taunting them, threatening them, etc. In the kid context, the perpetrators of this offense are often older children who know the victim personally. As is the case offline, the child who is subjected to the abuse is often picked on due to some physical trait they possess or behavioral trait that they exhibit.
The issue of cyberbullying is becoming increasingly problematic throughout the United States as more and more children gain access to the World Wide Web via their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computing devices. In recent times, there have been a number of cases in which kids have committed suicide after being subjected to repeated attacks from cyber bullies. This frightening threat is one about which all parents should educate themselves. Thereafter, they should take the necessary steps to ensure that their child is comfortable telling them if any such issues arise. This policy should be applicable to both their online and offline interactions.
Internet safety tips for kids
There are many strategies which are employed offline to keep kids safe that can also be adapted to protect them when they are engaging in activities in the online world. The following are a few of the tips that can contribute to the establishment and maintenance of Internet safety for kids:
- Do not talk to strangers
There are potentially billions of strangers who can communicate and forge relationships with children online. As is the case offline, these strangers can pose a significant threat to the physical and emotional safety of kids. Many children get lured into meetings with pedophiles and other categories of child abusers to whom they were introduced online. While some of these people are known to them or their parents, the vast majority of these troubled individuals are strangers who are trying to seize opportunities to exploit vulnerable youngsters. “Stranger danger” is the increasingly popular term which is used to refer to the phenomenon and the associated threats that are posed to unsuspecting children by unscrupulous individuals.
- Do not view adult sites or content
Premature and prolonged exposure to adult websites and content can result in children being led to explore their sexuality long before they are able to physically, emotionally, and psychologically handle the consequences of such intimate interactions with another human being. Parents should ensure that they put security mechanisms in place to ensure that access to these types of sites is restricted. It is not sufficient for parents to leave this solely up to the discretion of their kids, due to the fact that youngsters are naturally very curious at this early stage of their development.
Cyber security tips for parents
There are many computer and Internet specific tips that, if followed, can enable parents to keep their children as safe as possible. Below are a few of them.
- Ensure that the computer is not placed in a secluded area
It is advisable that the computer is not placed in the child’s bedroom. This will reduce the likelihood that they can engage in dangerous activities without anyone within the household having any knowledge of what they are getting up to on the Internet. The effectiveness of this strategy is also dependent on the parent either restricting access or intently monitoring the usage of the smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computing devices in the child’s possession.
- Know the child’s social networking passwords
Most social media websites have a minimum age which needs to be attained before an individual can become a member. Even if the child has already met this age requirement, the parent should probably ensure that they also have access to the account so that they can more effectively surveil who their child is communicating with and what exactly is being said.
Keeping kids safe on the Internet is a huge challenge for parents. There are a number of strategies which need to be employed to ensure that they are protected from the various threats which reside on the World Wide Web.