It is no news that children need protection. While we are protecting these kids from the dangers that they could face in their daily lives, we also have to make adequate provisions for the risks that they could meet online.
In that light, we have issues such as:
- Exposure to inappropriate content – the internet is awash with violence, graphic content, pornography and related content that are not rated for kids. The fact that they don’t have to do anything extensive to get access to such content makes it highly reasonable to police what they see online.
- Cyberbullying – it is unfortunate to note that bullies have taken their craft online Now, they don’t even have to know your kids personally before they are bullied. This can happen in game rooms, forums and on their social media channels.
- Cyberstalking – predatory adults prey on the innocence of young children online. These can reach a fever pitch such that the predator starts to stalk your kid around the internet.
That, and many more, are some of the many dangers that children face online.
The good news is that they are not left without the tools to protect themselves. They do not know this, though. That is where you step in as an adult.
Some of the approaches that we have found to work in protecting kids better online include, but are not limited to:
1 Helping Them Understand
Talk to your kids about all the dangers that they can face when online. From the basic cyberbullying and cyberstalking to advanced phishing attacks, let them see how the internet’s roses are not without thorns also.
2 Understand Your Kids
You cannot help protect your kids better online if you do not know how they access the internet.
There was a time when computers were the only way to get to the worldwide web. Now we can do so with smartphones too. Furthermore, gaming consoles can also be used to access the internet and web services – and even connect with other players from around the world.
Once you know how your children can access the internet, you can make a dedicated effort to helping them stay protected.
3 Social Media Usage
We usually recommend that kids do not have a social media account till they come of age. Otherwise, there are a lot of dangers which they can expose themselves to.
For one, there is no filter on most social media networks for the kinds of content your kids will be exposed to. Likewise, just about anyone can send them a request or follow them.
If your kids must use social media, they should understand how VPNs work to help keep them anonymous lest they share their location information unknowingly. They should also keep a private account that can only be followed on request – with the following limited to just family and friends.
Keep an eye on their messages too, ensuring no one is sending them inappropriate texts.
#TurnOnVPN is an activist group whose mission is to promote free and unimpeded internet for all. We take part in numerous online events to advocate for a safe, secure, and censor-free Internet. Learn more at www.turnonvpn.org/blog/.
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