The Importance of Internet Safety For Children
Is internet safety for children and keeping children safe online a real concern? The answer is a resounding YES!
These days children can easily access the internet either through their own or sharing their parents’ devices.
Honestly we spend a lot of time online every day. The question is are we aware of the potential dangers we might be exposing our children to?
Are we practicing measures that can help with keeping children safe online?
As parents, it is our job to ensure internet safety for children while raising them to be digitally responsible.
Keeping Children Safe Online
Internet Safety for Children – Hidden Dangers Online
The internet is definitely a useful tool but we must be aware of any potential dangers.
Here are some of the perils we have identified.
Exposure to inappropriate content:
Children may be exposed to inappropriate videos, violence, pornography or cultism with a click or a wrongly spelled word.
Accidentally clicking on an advertisement may take the child to pages that are unsuitable for them.
It is important to have them not search too deep to ensure internet safety for children.
The internet is a playground for pedophiles and predators and a problem for keeping children safe online. These creatures pose a threat to our child’s safety and privacy.
Here are some warning signs that can help identify whether your child is being targeted online:
- Increased online activity especially at night.
- Receiving phone calls from unfamiliar people or getting unsolicited gifts by mail.
- Suspicious behaviors like switching off the computer or changing screens when you enter a room. If they are withdrawing from family activities, hiding passwords or not being open about online activities it could be a concern.
Phishing and other online scams:
Children may unknowingly share important information such as phone numbers, addresses or credit card numbers online.
They could easily open unsecured web pages or download attachments containing viruses.
Internet safety for children means educating them about the possible consequences of this.
Advise them how this could allow hackers to breach security on devices to then steal or copy vital data and other personal information.
This could later lead to identity theft, uninitiated money transfers and other issues.
SMS, emails and posts sent or published online with the intent to harm others are acts of cyberbullying.
It may include posting personal information, pictures or videos on social media sites to embarrass them or harm their reputation.
Understanding these dangers enables us to take steps toward keeping children safe online. After all, knowledge is power and awareness is always the first line of defence.
Internet Safety for Children – Taking Precautions
Our children’s safety and privacy could be compromised unless we act towards preventing it.
Here are some precautions that you can put in place for keeping children safe online.
Use Online Safety Tools:
Internet safety for children includes using these tools:
- Parental controls to set restrictions on your child’s online use.
- Anti-virus software will prevent viruses compromising the security and privacy of devices.
- Turn off location settings on games and applications. Doing this will make it harder for online predators to track your childs locations.
- Set all privacy settings to maximum.
- Use software that can monitor and track your child’s online activity.
- Use blocking software and other settings to block offensive pop-ups and advertisements with inappropriate content.
Rules help raise digitally responsible citizens and are essential for keeping children safe online.
Have a discussion with your children to form a set of do’s and don’ts for internet and cellular and enforce them.
Some basic instructions on internet safety for children include:
- Do not share personal information. This means names, addresses, passwords or other details related to yourself and family with outsiders.
- Refrain from chatting with strangers or making friends online. This is especially important for teenagers who find it difficult to make real-life friends.
- Avoid personally meeting individuals you have encountered online. As many teenagers use dating apps this rule might be harder to enforce with older children. Advise them to keep you in the loop about the person and take a friend along. Make sure to conduct all meetings in public.
- Younger children must not engage in a chat room without parental permission and supervision.
- Avoid posting pictures and videos of yourself without parental permission.
- Refrain from using real names and photos in profile pictures.
- Ask before downloading or installing any applications on the computer.
- Treat everyone online respectfully and refrain from sharing or forwarding posts that can embarrass another person.
Create an internet safety poster to hang over your child’s computer to remind them of the rules.
Similarly, sign a contract with older children describing your terms in exchange for their internet privileges.
Be open with your children, so they can freely approach you with their online problems.
Talk to them about applications used and websites visited and discuss the potential dangers. Show them you understand it is important to be keeping children safe online.
Emphasize the importance of following rules and being transparent about online activities.
Internet safety for children requires you take an active role in your child’s online life and intervene as required.
Monitor online activity to help in keeping children safe online.
This can be done by:
- Keeping the device in a common area. This will deter children from accessing inappropriate content
- Setting specific times for internet use both for educational and recreational purposes.
- Tracking the time spent on devices.
- Checking browser history or installing applications to track a child’s online activity.
- Bookmarking sites for easy access
- Blocking sites or applications that ask for credit card details and other information.
Manage online activities:
Model and allow for internet safety for children by:
- Checking the safety of apps, games and websites before allowing children to use them.
- Using kid-friendly search engines or those with parental controls.
- Creating a family email account or social media page.
- Allowing restricted messaging on chat applications that are verified.
- Ensuring that you are familiar with all the friends on your child’s messenger or contact list.
Our primary responsibility is always the safety of our children. In this new digital era keeping children safe online becomes the need of the hour.
Using these tips, you can easily establish internet safety for children enabling them to safely explore and experience the online world.
Read more of our technology articles.
An Occupational therapist, freelance content writer and more importantly a stay-at-home mom, Sarah, like all other parents juggles her many roles. Her passion for writing combined with her professional expertise as an Occupational therapist (working with children with special needs) has helped her craft content specific to child health, wellness and learning skills. At present, Sarah alternates her time between raising her two young children, and writing about what she knows best- children!