Children are the future of the world and every parent works hard to protect them and give a good life to them. It is easy for children to fall prey to various online threats due to their age and innocence. Every parent should teach their children about these five online threats to ensure their safety.
Cyberbullying and Cyber Predators
There are several cyber predators on the internet who target children of various age groups. Their main aim is to coerce the children into doing whatever they say by luring them, threatening them, or cheating them.
Child psychologists warn parents regarding the various effects of cyberbullying which might cause serious low self-esteem issues. The child predators know exactly how to bully the children and make them yield to their nefarious wishes.
Parents should educate their children regarding such issues and create awareness about cyber predators. Show them simple examples and educate them never to do anything they are not comfortable with doing.
Parents should train children to say ‘no’ to bullying others, watching adultery, accepting online gifts from strangers, and disclosing personal information about friends and family. Children should be trained to contact their parents immediately if they don’t feel comfortable in a gaming setup, online class, or on social media.
Parents should provide the necessary help and guide them regarding standing up for themselves and not yielding to online peer pressure in any case. They should also monitor whom the child befriends closely using parental control technologies. An example of such is Qustodio.
Children, especially teenagers quite interested in games and app downloads, might accidentally download malware into a computer system or smartphone. Educate the children about unwanted app usage and granting unlimited control to the apps to access the camera and contacts of the mobile.
Educate kids about the various drastic damages malware can cause: from stealing data on the mobile to affecting the smartphone’s performance. Also, teach them about the dangers of clicking on unwanted pop-ups.
Malware downloads can occur because of simply clicking on various links in the messages from unknown sources. In most smartphones, kids or children click on such messages attracted by the various discounts or offers and let the malware inside the smartphone.
Children studying in online classes might do the same and get their laptop or system corrupted in no time. It is safe to provide the children with a kid-friendly mobile and teach them to install antivirus software and do regular updates on the laptop and smartphone.
Youngsters easily fall prey to various types of online scams. They might believe they actually won a lottery or a trip abroad if they receive a phone call or an email. Teach the children to check whether the email, company, or the person offering them such details are authentic.
Show them how to do a reverse search on the internet. Teach them to use Nuwber to check the authenticity of people who contact them. Teenagers should make it a habit to use this site when they are accepting friend requests from strangers or are planning to meet someone in person for the first time.
Parents should encourage their children to come to them if they fall prey to any scams rather than getting scared or trying to solve the issue on their own. Teach them it is ok to mess up and it is common for everybody to make mistakes. Establish a trustworthy bond with your kids to make them come to you first if they are caught up in any scam.
Exposing Personal Information
Stranger danger is very real in the online world more than in the real world. Parents should warn their children strictly regarding befriending strangers online. It is only ok to share their online ids and mingle with people they know well in real life.
Instruct teenagers to use only ID verified accounts on dating websites. Make them choose their online friends very carefully.
Warn the older children strictly regarding oversharing or disclosing information about parents’ passwords, the time they will stay alone in the house, etc.
Tell children how even small information can be used against their safety and encourage them to be vigilant while using the internet.
Internet or digital addiction is often overlooked by parents as an online threat. Nearly 35% of youngsters below the age of 8 are addicted to their mobiles. They cannot spend even a few hours without the internet. The level of their addiction can be seen in places where the internet is not allowed like planes, meditation centers, etc.
Children struggle enormously to stay without Wi-fi even for a few minutes. They fidget endlessly, start crying or go into a numb mode unable to answer even simple questions. Mobile addiction might sometimes get very serious requiring therapeutic intervention.
Several students who returned to schools after staying home for a few months attending online classes struggled to stay without mobiles. The addiction affected their concentration and social interaction severely, making several teachers and parents worry about their future.
Every person using the internet is susceptible to the online threats listed above like addiction or falling for scams. Many adults overshare unnecessary personal information compromising their safety. Falling prey to cyberbullying or downloading malware is common too. Our kids are no exception and their young age and tender nature makes them face more online dangers than adults. Parents should make it a point to
- Create awareness about the various online threats among their kids
- Maintain a trustworthy bond to make children come to them when they are in a problem and
- Warn children strictly against stranger danger online, oversharing information and downloading unnecessary malware-loaded stuff online.
Protecting children is the most important duty of every parent and these steps will help the parents fight the online threats together with their kids.