How to Keep Children Safe Online
Children face an increasing number of dangers every single time they log onto the Internet. The Internet itself is not the enemy, but some of the things lurking online are whether it is a cyber bully, online predator, or scammer.
The Most Common Hazards to Children Online
Cyber Bullying – Cyber bullying has now reached epidemic proportions across the nation. For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, it is bullying that takes place online through text messaging and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Cyber bullies will post malicious and degrading remarks to demoralize the victim and some of these incidents have actually led to suicide and school violence. Parents definitely need to be aware of their children are participating in cyber bullying or perhaps victims of a cyber bullies themselves.
Internet Predators – Internet predators are one of the greatest concerns for parents. They are the people that will lure the children into meeting them in person and using that as an opportunity to cause them harm in some way shape or form. They will commonly approach children in chat rooms and get them to invite them over their house or try to get them to meet them somewhere. The worst thing about them is that they are extremely manipulative and they know how to prey on children. Parents need to know who their children are talking to online and pay attention to what is going on.
Scams – Although few parents consider it to be a legitimate danger for their children, it actually is. Scammers will try to coax children into providing information of a personal or financial nature in order to siphon money out of their account. There are email scams and plenty of legitimate looking websites that can easily trick children. For example, a teenager may think that they are providing personal information for a scholarship or loan, only to realize that they were on a fraudulent website. Parents should put an emphasis on privacy and keep all of their passwords and personal information confidential. They should also look over their accounts to ensure that everything is okay.
Material of an Inappropriate Nature – There are many forms of inappropriate content online that children may have access to whether it is related to sex, drugs, or violence. It could come in the form of videos, podcasts, or just written text that might be inappropriate for children in general. Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent children from gaining access to this type of material through Internet filtering software.
Ways to Keep Your Children Safe
Install Internet Filtering Software – Any parent can visit a local electronic store or even visit an online store to purchase Internet filtering software. There are many different programs on the market and you can actually specify which websites to block. They are very effective and they are often used at schools and libraries to maintain a family friendly environment.
Keep an Open Dialogue – Keep an open dialogue with your children so they feel comfortable talking to you about their experiences online. Let them talk to you if they come across any inappropriate content or if they have experienced any type of cyber bullying.
Keep the Computer in a Family Area – A lot of children want to have computers in their own room or they want to have a laptop, but that may not be a good idea. Young children should ideally be allowed to access the computer during certain hours and they should be monitored while they use the computer in the family area. Watch your children while they use the computer and ask questions if something does not feel right.
The Internet has an equal amount of opportunities and threats for both children and adults. There is no sure fire way to keep anyone completely safe online, so the best thing that you can do is watch your children and trust your gut.