Internet Cyber Safety 101 for Parents and Kids
Children of the 21st century remain surrounded by technology when they grow up. They have access to the Internet from the very beginning of their learning process. As a result, they get acquainted with the unknown in an absolutely different manner than the kids of the previous era.
While modern-day kids take little time to adapt to technology, there’s no denying the fact that this proximity with technology and the Internet leaves them at high risk of becoming victims of cybercrimes. That’s because the world wide web is the breeding ground for cybercriminals, bullies, and other dangerous predators.
So, if you are a parent of a young child, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that your kid doesn’t fall prey to the spiteful actions of cybercriminals. Additionally, you should also keep a close eye on the kind of content your little one is accessing. The cyber safety tips discussed below might help you to keep your child protected online.
1. Make Sure Your Child Is Using an Encrypted Internet Network
Children love spending time browsing the Internet wherever they go. Parents love this as this allows the little brains to access a host of interesting and useful information. Additionally, they also feel relieved that they don’t need to spend too much time with their kids ignoring their profession and daily chores. A mistake most parents make in the process is not ensuring whether their little ones are using an encrypted Internet network.
This makes the kids easy victims of hackers and other malicious third parties. They might compel the kids to do things they are not supposed to do. Additionally, these unscrupulous entities might also bully the kids. Such actions can have a deep impact on the mental health of children.
If the kids are using their parents’ computers or mobile phones to access the Internet, using an unencrypted connection can also result in data loss, identity theft, etc.
The best solution to the above problem is to use a VPN service. This tool will encrypt your Internet connection and stop hackers and other cybercriminals from identifying your IP address and accessing your personal data.
2. Restrict Screen Time
It’s good that the present generation kids love spending time on the Internet. This allows them to gather knowledge, play games, watch their favorite cartoons, read books, etc. However, this affinity towards the Internet becomes difficult to handle when the kids become addicted to the cyber world.
Internet addiction can make kids suffer from a series of mental and physical health issues. They might develop vision problems and have severe headaches. Additionally, they may also experience symptoms like loss of appetite and sleep deprivation. It’s also common for these kids to showcase symptoms of depression.
If you don’t want your little one to experience any of these, restrict their screen time. Sit with your kids and talk to them about the ill effects of spending too much time online. Explain the benefits of self-regulation to them. Finally, tell them that from now on they can access the Internet only for a few hours in the morning or afternoon. The rest of the day should remain screen-free for them.
3. Make Sure Your Kids Don’t End up Spending Time on Inappropriate Websites
The worst thing about the world wide web is that most websites with inappropriate content don’t stop children from visiting them. Yes, they do ask questions like “Are you above 18?” However, they never confirm whether the person answering the question in the affirmative is actually an adult or not.
As a result, kids often end up spending time on websites they are not supposed to visit. This might introduce them to things like pornography, gambling, etc., and spoil their innocence.
Parents must install a parental control app or set up restrictions on websites that appear to be inappropriate for their child’s level of maturity and age to stop such events.
4. Don’t Share Your Passwords with Your Kids
If your little one knows your passwords, they will never wait for your permission to access your device. This might increase the child’s chances of getting addicted to the Internet significantly. Additionally, your password might get shared with third parties, and children rarely know the importance of keeping passwords secret.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with allowing your kids to play games or watch cartoons on your phone/computer, never share your passwords with them. Whenever they would want to use your device, enter your password yourself and then hand over the device to them.
5. Beware of Social Media
Most social media platforms require account holders to be 13 years of age or older. However, some websites allow smaller kids to create accounts with the permission of their parents.
Using social media without being monitored can expose kids to people and information that can harm them. So, even if you allow your child to be active on social media, keep a close eye on their activities. Ensure that they are interacting with the right people. Ensure that they are not accepting friend requests sent by bots. For complete safety, change settings for giving the account maximum privacy.
Parents shouldn’t stop kids from accessing the Internet as it allows them to learn and grow. However, they should never avoid monitoring the little ones’ online activities. The tips discussed above must help parents to keep their kids protected online.