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How to Keep your Child Safe Online

posted by Chris Valentine

The internet is a great place to be for all age groups! Not only we can find extensive information on the World Wide Web, but it is also a place where we can socialize, find work opportunities, and learn to utilize our creative talents.

In today’s high-tech age, as much as adults are fond of using the internet, the cyber-world is nothing less than an amusement park for children where they can explore innumerable magical entities of the digital world. From providing printable coloring templates to solving online practice tests and quizzes and giving endless entertainment options via fun-packed sites such as YouTube, the internet is a fun place to be for the children. However, is the internet all about rainbows and butterflies? Not really.

The children are always attracted to the shiny side of the cyber world, but sometimes they are completely unaware of its dark side that comprises of viruses, spyware, identity thefts, cyber stalkers, exposure to explicit content or any other privacy invasions or threats you can think of.

Apart from offering endless learning and entertainment opportunities to the children, the internet comes with a fair share of dangers lurking around it.

About 65% of the children in the US aged between 8-14 have encountered cyberbullying incidents and 7 out of ten kids get exposed to violent or age-inappropriate content while doing homework research. Isn’t it alarming?

The “stranger danger” isn’t just limited to running into creepy people in real-life but has potentially extended to the World Wide Web, too… and that brings us to the question: how can we protect our kids from threats while they are on a cyber-adventure? Here are some answers.

Welcome VPN into your Home

Did you know that 72% of internet-related child abduction cases involved children aged 15+?

Malware attacks are quite common in the internet world. Malware is malicious software that is created by cybercriminals that gets tacitly installed on an internet-enabled device without the user’s consent or knowledge to steal personal information such as the current location and address. As children are innocent and mostly unaware of such malicious tricks, they tend to click on harmful links and unknowingly download malware that’s masked as an interesting game or app.

The best way to deal with this cyber threat is to get a VPN or Virtual Private Network so that your details cannot be tracked. A VPN efficiently masks your IP address and ensures to give you maximum online privacy by redirecting your device’s internet activities to a remote server and encrypting all data that are sent or received. Getting a VPN can protect your kids from cyberstalkers who can track their addresses and follow the trail to cause potential harm.

Build a Strong Virtual Security Fort

To protect your children and their digital devices from cybercriminals, it is crucial to surround all your devices with unbreakable security walls so that you and your children don’t fall prey to any viruses, phishing, malware or spyware. Setting up strong passwords with numbers and special characters and installing an impenetrable anti-virus to detect and notify any menaces as soon as they pop up is a great way to keep the security threats at bay.

Anti-virus software can be easily found and installed online but a strong one may or may not come with a price tag. However, if you have a reliable internet service provider such as Spectrum in Tampa, FL, your internet connection will naturally come with an efficient anti-virus that’s designed to provide top-notch cybersecurity.

Enlighten them On the Dark Side of the Web

Since internet usage has become so common amongst children, many cybercriminals and predators are always in search of innocent techy-kids who head out to have fun on social media sites or online gaming platforms. These virtual-vultures can communicate with the children and lure them into sharing personal information such as videos and photos or expose them to age-inappropriate content that may lead to blackmail, cyberbullying or even molestation.

About 17% of minor internet-users agreed that they received unwanted content from strangers that made them feel uncomfortable and some of them didn’t tell their parents about it.

It doesn’t matter if your child is 5 or 15, it’s extremely important to increase their awareness about the basic etiquettes and do’s and don’ts of the digital world just like you tell them about stranger danger so that they know what’s out there and how to avoid it. Inform your child about the online security software that you have installed and tell them how to use it.

Also, strictly refrain your techy-kids from sharing any personal data without your permission and always encourage them to notify you as soon as they sense something fishy while they are out and about in the cyber-world.

Don’t Spy, Let the Parental Controls Do It

In today’s modern age, controlling your children and keeping a direct eye on their internet or TV activities can be hard as it might make them uncomfortable and feel that their parent is being nosy. So how can you keep an eye on your child’s digital activities without being so obvious? The answer: parental controls.

Parental controls allow you to efficiently monitor your child’s online activities such as browsing history and help you to block out any age-inappropriate content so that they don’t have any illicit encounters on the web. Some well-designed parental controls are not only meant to filter online content for your child’s psychological and physical well-being but also come with other features such as setting or limiting the screen time and authority to control what your child sees via all digital mediums including the modern TV.

Some top-end internet and TV services come pre-equipped with parental blocks that can be used to control what kind of content your child is exposed to without being obvious. For convenience, you can ask your service provider if their service comes equipped with parental blocks so that you can set them on your digital devices from day 1.

Takeaway 

Cybercrimes and thefts can latch onto your child unexpectedly. However, while it’s always good to expect the unexpected to prepare yourself for the worst, cybersecurity breaches can be prevented using the right tips and measures to ensure your child’s online safety.

With the right protections in place and following simple tips such as bridging the communication gap between you and your child and raising awareness about potential threats and setting boundaries for social media platforms from a young age can keep cyber threats at bay.

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1 Comment

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