The Internet is the most fascinating invention of the modern world that has kept on modernizing people and their surroundings since ever. Many things that we were spellbound by in ‘The Jetsons’ have come to life because of the internet: be it remote working, online medical consultations, video conferencing, or use of smart devices.
The utilization of the internet further expanded during the pandemic lockdown of 2020 and has been growing since then. From entertainment to working or studying, from playing games to shopping, from learning new baking techniques to interacting with friends, everything is being done online. People have given full access to the internet to their children to keep them busy in their studies and after-study shenanigans. However, are they equipped with the right safety instructions? Parents, now than ever, need to be concerned about the safety of their kids online.
One of the first steps that parents can take to protect their family from any online intrusion is employing a good security suite. You might find it expensive, but security and safety come first and parents shouldn’t compromise on it in any way. If you are a subscriber of Spectrum packages then you are very much in luck as they offer a full-fledge security suite and parental control system to their customers ensuring their total protection and security against all online threats.
In any case, we have summed up all the information you need, in this article, to protect your kids from the evil side of the online world.
There are a lot of federal laws that work for the online protection of children, for example, COPPA or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is in place to protect children that are younger than 13. According to this law, websites need to explain their privacy policies and ensure parental permission before gathering or utilizing any information relating to children. It also prohibits websites to ask for personal information from children to play a game or anything of the sort.
According to the Children’s Internet Usage study conducted by the Center of Cyber Safety and Education, these are the most common types of websites visited by children:
- 63 percent of kids have visited gaming websites that allowed them to compete against total strangers
- 50 percent of kids have visited gaming websites that generalize violence
- 21 percent of kids have visited online chat rooms to talk to strangers
- 17 percent of kids have visited websites containing pornographic images and videos
- 11 percent of kids have visited websites that give out cheating-in-school instructions
- 05 percent of kids have visited websites to purchase weapons
- 05 percent of kids have visited dating websites
- 04 percent kids have visited gambling websites
- 01 percent kids have visited sites to purchase alcohol
There are a lot of dangers of the internet and parents need to be careful of what their children are doing online. Educating your kids about the risks that come with the use of the internet is another great way to counter them. Some of the online security threats that parents should be wary of include:
- Online frauds and scams
- Identity theft
- Online predators
- Bait and switch
- Inappropriate content
Following are some of the internet safety tips that will help secure your kids and family:
Understand the severity of the online world
Make sure that your kid understands the severity of the internet. Tell them about suspicious online activities and always encourage them to ask for your help. A healthy and trustworthy relationship between children and parents is very important.
Kids are generally the weakest link to get into your family’s details and so you need to teach them the value of identity and that they should never disclose it to any website. Cybercriminals can recognize the vulnerability in children and trick them into disclosing important details. Advise them to never share their personal information with anyone including date of birth, house address, and social security number, without your consent.
Furthermore, you should teach your kids the difference between being respectful and being friendly. They should always be respectful towards others but friendliness is another thing. You might already have taught them to be cautious of strangers in the real world, and the same concept needs to be applied online as well. Tell them to maintain their distance from strangers and not to communicate with anyone unnecessarily.
Create strong passwords
Your kid must have an online presence by now. Social media accounts, as well as emails, are very much important in today’s world and that is why you need to tell them to choose strong and unique passwords for all of their accounts. A strong password includes lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Personal information, common words, and phrases as well as easy combinations like 123456 should be avoided as they are much easier to crack.
You can also install a password management system on their gadgets so their passwords are unique as well as secure.
Teach them the right way to use social media
Now that everyone spends a lot of time on social media sites, it is obvious that there is a need to share important, personal information with others. This might just be wrong. When we share every inch of our personal life on the internet, online predators and scammers can take advantage of it.
Also, teach them to always read the privacy policies when visiting websites. We understand that these policies are long and somewhat boring, so they can at least glance over before accepting them.
Monitor activities of your kids
Giving your kids some space is very important and you should do it. Although, you should maintain a check and balance over their activities to ensure that they do not end up in trouble. Parental controls are embedded in almost every respectable site to allow parents to monitor their kids’ doings.
Install security suite and VPN service
As discussed earlier in the article, you need to install a good security suite on your devices. This will ensure that your devices and kids are safe and secure from the dangers of the online world. There are free security suites available as well, however, they might lack some functions.
Another service you need to install is VPN. The importance of a VPN increases exponentially when using a public Wi-Fi facility and since kids love to be online at all times, you should install a good VPN on their devices.