There is no doubting it; the internet is a valuable resource for children. It can help them with their homework and keep them busy with games and social media while they are chatting with friends. On the other hand, it can be one of the unsafe places you can imagine for a child, as there are threats targeted towards them from every angle.
From school bullying, adult content that is broadcast to them unknowingly, things to click on where they have no idea of the consequences and the people who try to befriend children for more sinister dealings. Being a child on the internet can be hard and challenging to come to terms with if they are at the younger age.
Children being children often don’t mention this to their parents as they feel they have done something wrong and wish to hide the fact that something has happened or is currently going on. Children also don’t understand or ask, why is internet safety is important? There is also a large percentage of adults who are not sure of how to put any child protection filters in place to make the internet a safe place and protect their children from these persistent threats.
There are many ways parents can make the internet a much safer place for their children, and it can make the whole families internet experience a much healthier and safe one in the process.
A lot of protection that parents can do comes from setting a few ground rules for their children. Education is the start of protecting children from the dangers that they face on the internet. One of the most significant problems for this is that their children are much better at using the internet than they are. No matter if it is a phone, tablet or a computer.
The children of today are so adept at using a touchscreen or a mouse to navigate around the devices they use.
At this time you should begin to educate your child of what is acceptable and what isn’t. This can be important as until you set boundaries; your children will have no comprehension of what is right and what is wrong.
Downloading files and apps should be limited unless they have your permission, this can not only be harmful to your child, but there might be malware or spyware that can harm or compromise your home computers.
Instant messaging and emails are another area where there are a great many risks for children; it is crucial for children to never reply to any unsolicited emails or chat with anyone they don’t know.
What Dangers are There?
A lot of the focus has been on social media and adult content that gets broadcast to children, yet there has now been a shift towards online gaming where it is possible for chatting during gameplay. There are a great many people who pretend to be someone else on these gaming platforms, and a large percentage of children have been posed with personal questions. Studies have shown that children trust online gaming platforms so much that they wouldn’t see a problem with meeting someone in real life that they had chatted to online.
All social media require children to be over the ages of 13 to create an account, much of this has been put into place as there is a total mix of content and possible dangers that lurk on these social media platforms.
It is unfortunate that in these social platforms there is no real way of restricting explicit content. Much of the protection comes from the friends you are following, and again as a parent, you should educate your children to both never chat with anyone they don’t know or agree to meet anyone unless they are a family friend.
In Facebook settings, for example, you can only block apps and individual users, and any further blocking now comes from third-party applications that have varying degrees of an internet filter built into them.
YouTube is another area that children face threats from explicit material, luckily Google has responded, and for the iPhone and Android, they have released a version of YouTube for children. As this is free, this should be installed rather than your children using the main YouTube app.
One of the significant threats children face no matter how much you educate them or put apps in place that can protect them from outside threats is their connection. As children now have tablets and their phones with them as they go to school, there are many occasions where they connect to public WI-FI.
This puts their connections under threat from anyone who wishes to access their device and find personal information about them or any other personal information that may be on their device.
One of the best ways to protect your child and their device is by using VPN software. This in simple terms hides their connection from view and will make their device appear invisible while they are on the internet.
Not only will it make them appear invisible, but it also hides the location of the device. A VPN service makes it seem that your child’s device might actually be in another country so the chance of a person trying to locate your child through their device won’t be able to do this.
A Complete Solution
As much as you can put into place, be it a VPN service for which there are many available, blocking specific apps and programs and restricting the times your child is allowed to be online. After setting their devices up with built-in parental controls, and web filtering, there is nothing as strong as education for your child.
No matter what age they are, knowing what is right and what is wrong can protect them more than anything when it comes to their protection. It is easy to make sure their connection and device are locked down and secure, yet how they use that device comes under your guidance.