The Internet has opened up a new world of information, wonder and delight for everyone, especially for children. Whether they are accessing it on a tablet, smartphone, desktop or other device, children of all ages are using the Internet to communicate with teachers and friends, conduct research for school reports, play interactive games, watch a wide variety of programming – the list is endless.
But while the benefits of Internet access for kids are many, there are also some risks that come with online activity. These risks are serious enough for parents to be made aware of, so that they can do all they can to prevent any harm from coming to their children. Online safety for children is paramount, so we’ve put together some safety advice top tips for parents.
Parents and the Internet
Not too long ago, parents had a good handle on what their children were doing, what they were watching on television and who they were communicating with. After all, it was hard to miss listening to their phone conversations when the home phone was only several feet away. But today that feeling of safety is gone, because you simply never know what websites your child has stumbled upon, or who they may be conversing with.
What parents shouldn’t do is prevent their children from using the Internet. After all, they would miss out on all that it has to offer. What they should do is monitor their child’s usage, see what their child is searching for and make sure that the people their child is conversing with are legitimate contacts. Sadly, there are many people who mask their real identity to gain the trust and confidence of a child for a variety of nefarious purposes.
Parents should teach their child about online privacy, smart practices when going online and the proper way to use the Internet. Kids should be made aware of the negative side of the Internet, without making it sound like a truly negative place. There’s a delicate balance, but when it comes to children and the Internet, it’s always better to be safe rather than be sorry.
Parents should learn about the various age restrictions of social media, and children who are younger than the recommended age should not be allowed to frequent those sites. Also, parents should explain the concept of privacy, and ways to prevent people from violating their privacy when using the Internet. They should also become familiar with all apps that their child uses or wants to download, and review them before allowing a child to install them. Parents are responsible for their child’s safety in all facets of life, and that includes the Internet. Remember – parents are in charge!
Online Safety: Keeping Kids Safe
How many times have you told your kids not to talk to strangers? Well, the same rules apply to the Internet. You have to know who your child is communicating with when they’re online. To be safe, you should know all of your child’s contacts, screen names, email addresses and websites that they visit. If you’re concerned in any way with who your child is communicating with, verify their true identity and block anyone who doesn’t meet your standards. This will help prevent online predators from contacting your child.
Another safety concern is online bullying. Unfortunately, statistics reported by “DoSomething.org” 43% of kids have been victims of online bullying, yet only 1 in 10 will report bullying to an adult. It’s a major problem, and as many parents have seen in the news it can lead to serious mental health problems for the child who is bullied. There have even been reports of suicide due to bullying.
Parents should also be aware of the problems of identity theft, because that practice is becoming more and more prevalent. Schools and children’s websites store information from visitors, which can lead to many unsolicited emails for your kids. So children should be told that they should never reveal their passwords, login information or other personal information to anyone online.
In addition to monitoring the sites your child is visiting, parents should also monitor their social network activity. It’s easy enough to sign up and friend your child on the various social sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, so you can see who your child is chatting with and what her or she is chatting about.
Many websites and social media sites offer control tools that parents can use to help parents block or monitor their child’s online activity. Parents should view what’s available on each site and use the setting to match their personal preferences.
Many parents are using Nuwber, an online tool used to verify the identity of people your child is communicating with. It will allow you to verify a person’s name, address, age and gender so that if there is any concern or discrepancy, a parent would be able to block the person from their child’s device and networks.
If a parent sees an unknown name, phone number or unusual communications from someone they don’t recognize, Nuwber can provide extensive information about the person in question. That includes personal information and social profiles. It’s easy to use, and offers parents peace-of-mind and an extra level of safety when their child is online.
Rules for Kids
Parents have to establish some ground rules in order to keep their kids safe, and kids must follow these rules in order to have a positive and enjoyable Internet experience. Children should:
- Never send or share personal photos or images to anyone
- Never agree to meet with anyone without a parent’s prior permission and approval
- Never reply to a threatening email or text
- Always tell a parent about a communication that made them frightened or scared
The Internet opens up a world of possibilities for children, as long as parents monitor their child’s activities and teach their kids about online safety and privacy.. Parents should go online and learn about different social media sites and websites that their child is interested in. Kids should be made aware of online bullying and should learn to always tell a parent if they feel threatened or scared. Parents should consider online tools like Nuwber to verify the true identity of people who are communicating with their children. Finally, parents should establish ground rules for kids that include never sharing photos or meeting a person they met online without a parent’s permission. Following these simple safety tips will help to keep the Internet an enjoyable and safe experience for kids.