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Ways to keep your child’s online experience safe

The internet is a necessary part of everyone’s life today, including that of our children. The younger generations have never even known a world without it! Although it is a fantastic tool for communication, entertainment and education, there are also serious risks that guardians and parents should be aware of; it’s not an entirely safe space.

At some point, our children will use the internet, so we have to make sure they are safe. We have access to technological tools as parents, caregivers and educators. To prevent minors from being exposed to inappropriate content, these tools include restrictive device controls and content filters. 

We can also limit our children’s access to the internet and make sure we supervise their screen time until a certain age. However, these are insufficient; the most important measures are open communication, awareness and education.

The dangers for children online

The most common issue affecting kids online is cyberbullying – a significant problem and can be extremely harmful to a child, even though children are generally more mindful of other cyber risks. Cyberbullying is mostly perpetrated by someone that the child knows. They may harass them through intimidation and threats.

Catfishing is another type of threat where an online persona or account is created by someone and used to compromise their victim. This is done to intimidate children anonymously or to lure them into talking to them. Children are not immune to identity theft, financial information theft, or the sharing of sensitive information.

How can we make sure that our children are safe online?

It’s crucial to instil in our kids the idea that everything they post online will remain there indefinitely. Sharing the wrong kinds of things can have serious long-term repercussions. Children should be taught what information is appropriate to share and what information is inappropriate to share. We should not post images or personally identifying information online that includes someone’s home address or school name.

Children should also be taught not to reveal their passwords. Remind children that emails and chats are not secure and that things in the virtual world may not be what they seem. Remind your children not to share private information online and to respect others’ right to privacy.

Most importantly, make an effort to foster open communication with your child about these issues. Your child will be more likely to come to you for help if they feel that they can confide in you about difficult or embarrassing things.

Awareness is key to online safety 

Firewalls and antivirus software are essential but insufficient forms of security. Technology that blocks access can be bypassed. Our children require continuous dialogue, awareness, and engagement. We should also provide them with the information and resources they need to safely navigate online spaces. 

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Written by Taryn Hill

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