Worried about your child’s online safety? It’s not pointless since so many Internet risks are surfing throughout the Internet. Kids, if not protected, are the most exposed to online dangers and, thus, the most vulnerable category of the web’s users.
Why do you need to know about e-safety of your Children?
Raising awareness about online safety is a must for parents in the realities of growing online dangers. Once posted, shared, commented, uploaded, written, it’s never going to be yours. It goes public.
Teens in the USA make these mistakes while online:
- 93% of children use their real names on Facebook
- 21% share mobile phone numbers
- 25% share their personal videos on Facebook
Cyberbullying is one of the biggest online dangers for children. And it’s modifying. At present, it’s not just spreading rumors via social media or text messages. Kids ask now to “#roastme” which means provoking writing some offensive comments under a photo or a video. Experts ring alarm bells, saying this kind of half-joke, half-insult can produce emotional traumas and psychological problems. Thus, Stephanie Humphrey, a tech coach, says that insults can push an already depressed kid over the edge.
There are 750 000 registered predators hunting for kids in the USA. Using fake profiles (one of the ways), they befriend children on social media and later ask them to meet in person.
Let us not forget about Snapchat and WhatsApp with their location sharing feature. Snapchat when streaming live can show the exact address of the person’s location. In other words, online predators don’t have to be FBI agents to reach the kid. Just follow their Snapchat events.
Coby Persin, a Youtube blogger, and prankster, has recently released a social experiment showing how easily kids can be lured by online predators on Snapchat. It is a must-watch for all the parents since the video shows how these people operate on the web.
Among other bad fish, there are YouTube celebs’ channels promoting dangerous pranks and stunts among children. Also, on social media, a child can be recruited into participation in dangerous games like the Blue Whale Game. Its agents threaten kids to be undisclosed and assign horrible tasks such as jumping from a high bar in the construction area or laying down along the railway trails when a train is moving. The last one is to commit suicide. Thus, about 130 kids committed suicide around the globe due to the game.
In a nutshell, e-safety rules serve as commandments capable to create a safe online environment for your child. Let’s find out how to do it.
Commandment #1: Personal information stays personal
Foster the culture of privacy within your family as well as the one of discussing everything that goes public within your family. Convey to your child that any personal information concerns not just themselves, but the whole family. And if they care about their mom and dad, they should ask before sharing addresses, phone numbers, parents’ work addresses, etc. The services and agents who really need this kind of info never ask kids. They turn directly to parents.
Commandment #2: Explain e-safety basics.
Explain why it’s important to create a secure and unpredictable password and never share this information with third parties. Also, recommend using an email service with the 2-step verification.
Commandment #3: Teach to check and discuss before downloading or installing any software
Let them realize that any leaked info can potentially hurt the device or threaten the family’s privacy.
In the USA, 30% of free smartphone mobile apps store and sell contacts and online activity details. There are apps that team up to drain personal data from a device.
Moreover, mobile apps have in-app ads. Ad networks pay a fee to app developers to examine where the ad was shown and who was the user.
Commandment #4: Teach online responsibility
Sharing photos and videos with half-naked or naked body parts might be considered a sexually explicit material. Storing underage child pornography can lead to being registered as a sex offender. As a result, that may affect the employment and reputation. Also, sending this kind of content might be regarded as sexting and cause legal issues.
Commandment #5: Teach online safety literacy by playing
Google created the online game “Interland”. The purpose is to teach children to “make smart decisions online”. It’s 1-in-4 game:
– Reality River provides 10 questions which teach kids to identify who and what to trust on the Internet;
– Tower of Treasure teaches how to create strong passwords;
– Mindful Mountain educates how important it is to share information only with people you know well;
– The Kind Kingdom explains about trolling and being nice online.
Find the game which is the most convenient for your kid to teach online safety.
Commandment #6: Use technology
For example, there is a friendly chat bot Oyoty which helps to keep an eye on your kids when they share photos and videos on social media like Instagram. Available for both iOS and Android, the bot is downloaded to the child’s device and linked to their accounts. The aim is to make kids more vigilant toward what’s they are posting online. The bot chats with the kid and comments a shared content. For example, “to much skin on the photo”.
Commandment #7: Teach to behave in ”a café”
A café is just an example of a public place. Just explain to your child that if they are in a public location like cafes, parks, beaches with Wi-Fi connection, and they want to open an app, the should do the following: go to ‘Settings’ and switch off ‘Wi-Fi’ before performing a sensitive action. Why? Because it is more difficult for bad guys (AKA hackers) to catch the information from a mobile connection.
Commandment #8: Use inbuilt parental controls
Check out whether devices and apps your child uses provide parental controls. WhatsApp has it. Youtube has a Restriction Mode. Apple provides for iPad in-built parental control, which, besides limiting access to apps and sites, blocks unauthorized in-app purchases. Some moms and dads may find it extremely helpful. In 2014 Apple which had to refund $32.5 million for unauthorized child in-app purchases.
However, tech-savvy kids are used to getting around those restrictions.
Commandment #9: Use parental control software
Its market is growing immensely. Parents are worried that their child may somehow hit a sexual ad or meet an abuser who used to be a friend with a cute face on a Facebook account. Parental control apps’ primary function is to monitor kids’ online activity and prevents online risks. Thus, parents can view sites, social media platforms, etc. as well as installed apps leading to them. They also can limit access to them. Pick a parental control application that your family needs the most like Kidgy, Kaspersky or Vizio, etc.
To top a cherry on a pie, there are always extra features designed to protect your child.
Commandment #10: Set up WPA security on your router
Although a tech-savvy teen can use an app that will break the security passcode for Wi-Fi devices, the WPA won’t allow them to access the Internet even from an unprotected account. Besides, children won’t be able to get around online controls in the house.
Parents are law makers and law enforcers in the house. They are able to establish the rules that are capable to turn such a powerful tool like the Internet into a safe platform for education and fun.
Author’s Bio: Jerome Simas is a freelance writer and internet safety advisor for more than 15 years. Currently, I advise government officials, school administrators and private citizens about the best internet safety practices. He is a dad of 3 amazing kids.