How to Protect Kids Against Online Threats - TeknoGadyet

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

How to Protect Kids Against Online Threats

In this day and age, one can simply consider technologies as their best friends no matter how old they are. While one of its primary roles is to bridge our communication gap with others, it can also widen the distance between individuals as people begin to “connect to disconnect.”

How to Protect Kids Against Online Threats
How to Protect Kids Against Online Threats

For instance, when we’re walking on the street, we tend to avoid human interaction by simply taking our smartphone out from our pocket and pretend that we’re busy texting our friends. Also, when you don’t want to spend your time at home with your family, all we need to do is to bring our laptop to a cafĂ© to work.

These are just some of its bad effects on users. Strangely, we still enjoy doing this.

However, we’ll admit that the Internet can also give us tons of reasons to actually enjoy surfing it. Actually, it is oddly good at everything that it can offer you anything. In fact, one can easily search on the web, and find whatever he or she needs. And to be honest, can you imagine Google running out of an answer to your "unexplainable" questions? Of course, it won’t, right?

I won’t pretend here, it’s really hard to not depend on everything on the Internet most especially when it can inform and entertain you at the same time. In the Philippines, 46% of Filipinos are active Internet users, and they usually spend an average of 5 hours online according to We Are Social. While this information definitely won’t alarm you, the data also revealed that children start to have a personal interaction with technology as early as four months old. Is it safe? Definitely not.

Internet Safety for Children
Internet Safety for Children

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Before we dive into the issue, let’s try to reflect for now. Some parents are too busy at home that they will rather allow their children to use tablets, and smartphones to watch BabyTV and Peppa Pig on YouTube. We cannot blame them though, as letting kids use smart devices can help them pacify their child.

However, by tolerating them to do so, parents become unaware that they are also allowing their kids to learn about the how’s of the Internet and their devices.

For example, although their children still cannot read, their brain can already familiarize the images of your handset’s icons, and with that, they can easily recognize YouTube by simply looking on its logo. Once they were all ready familiar with the said video streaming site, kids can now freely watch the available suggested videos.

Meanwhile, school-aged kids with enough access to the Internet can say that it’s useful for their studies as it can work as a virtual library, too. Children often choose Google over books, as well, because in just one click, the information will be offered to them. But don't be too confident because you’d be surprised with some of its results, for it could also bring your child to different dimensions of realities.

Internet Can Inform and Entertain Users
Internet Can Inform and Entertain Users

To be fair, the Internet is safe as long as users know how to protect themselves against online threats and risks. We just need to understand that once you’re online, you’re also exposing yourself to everything – and everything is not good for you.

So, what will happen to kids when they are exposed on the internet without the proper guidance of their guardians?

3 C’s OF INTERNET THREATS THAT KIDS FACE ONLINE

There are three main kinds of online threats for children as stated at raisingchildren.net.au. These include Content risks, Contact risks, and Conduct risks.

Content risks are the threats that kids might find uncomfortable if they come across by accident, such as pornography, animal cruelty, and images that show violence.

Meanwhile, as the name suggests, Contact risks happened when children became friends with strangers online. Of course, we’re not against friendship, but we all know how vulnerable they are to fall into a trap. Parents need to know that there are some adults online who might take advantage of their kids’ innocence – and we don’t want them to be a victim. This risk also occurs when children provide their personal information and contact details on pop-up messages. Later on, their collected data might be used against them.

Conduct risks, on the other hand, take place when a child begins to change his or her behavior towards other people. Just like on TV programs, there are millions of contents online that are not suitable for them. There are some “social media stars” who may influence them, too. So, you might as well consider checking on your kid’s favorite YouTube channels or other social media pages to know whether they are good role models for your child or not.

Online Threats
Online Threats

WHAT IS CYBERCRIME?

Now that more people are connected to the internet through smart devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets, Cybercrime becomes a bigger threat than ever as predators see it as one of the most profitable ways to make money.

According to AVAST Software, Inc. there are two types of cybercrime: one-off crimes, and ongoing crimes. The former happened when a predator installed a virus on your device to steal personal data. Meanwhile, on-going crimes include cyberbullying, extortion, distributing child pornography, making sexual advances to minors, or even spreading hate and inciting terrorism.

ONLINE PREDATORS TARGET CHILDREN A LOT

On a report, parents were warned that online predators often target children who have low self-esteem. When a child is lonely and has struggled with social and academic skills, they tend to make friends with strangers online. Knowing this fact, online predators pretend to be kids on social networks and gaming platforms to look for victims.

Another kid's behavior that attracts offenders is their curiosity. As they start to explore the things they don’t know about, kids begin to seek online friends about sensitive topics like sex or drugs. They can be manipulated as well once predators gained their trust.

Predators usually disguise as someone or something that is fun and dependable, such as an online friend, games they play, or contents they watch.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet
How to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet

HOW TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE ON THE INTERNET

Learn more about the internet and smart devices

Always remember this, you can’t fight something you don’t know. As a guardian who wants to protect a child against online threats, it’s obvious that you should become familiar with the devices they use when surfing the web. Also, take your time to learn about the sites that your child always visit. With this, you will know whether it’s harmless for them, and you can guide them properly about the dos and don’ts.

Talk to your kids about the online world

It’s normal that your kids would like to spend time browsing the web, however, take time to sit down and have a conversation about the dangers of the internet. At a very young age, they started using these smart devices for games and entertainment. So, you must remind them that the internet isn’t a perfect place. In fact, it’s more dangerous than the “offline” world, as predators could easily take advantage of their innocence by hiding behind their fake accounts. There are also some pop-up messages online, which might fool your kids.

Set Rules

Since you can’t stop them to use the internet, then, consider having a set of rules to protect them. For instance, you must set rules about the things that they can do or cannot when surfing the web. You can also set time limits on their computer/tablet/smartphone use. Another thing we can suggest is that you should not allow your child to upload or download photos without your permission.

Moreover, remind them that they can’t trust strangers. Hence, they should not talk to people who they only met online. You should be strict about their social media accounts, as well. If you think that they’re using a social networking site that is not suitable for their age, then, explain to them why you have to deactivate these accounts.

Keep your computer in a common area of the house

Make sure that your kids can only use their devices in a place where you can see them. Do not allow them to use the internet alone. With this, your child will be afraid to try doing suspicious online activities. Through this, your kid will be obliged to follow rules, as well.

Keep your software’s up-to-date

Remember to always update your operating system and apps, as it may come with security patches which might fix or improve the software that they use.

Install an anti-malware and antivirus solution

An antivirus solution is not enough, to keep your kids safe on the internet, you must use an anti-malware solution to act as an extra layer of protection. If your kids complain a lot about the sudden slowing down of their devices, pop-up messages, new toolbars, and random error messages, then, these could be warning signs of a malware infection.

Use parental control software to monitor their online activities

As a guardian, you must check your Internet Service Provider about any parental controls, blocking, and filtering tools that they may offer. This might also protect your kids against online threats.

Do you find these tips helpful or do we missed something that you might know? Share your thoughts in the comment section below to help others enjoy a safer online world!

Source: AVG, PixelPrivacy, HEIMDAL Security

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