Online Safety for Kids: The Many Dangers You Should Be Concerned About
In today's tech-reliant world, it's not unusual for kids to be spending more and more time online, whether they access the internet from their computers, smartphones, tablets or other devices. The internet can be a wonderful thing for kids; it can make it easy for them to research and learn, it can provide them with entertainment and it can make it easy for them to keep in touch with friends and family members. However, it is important to focus on online safety for kids due to the many dangers that are out there.
It's not difficult for your average internet user to find pornography and other similar material online. All a curious child has to do is click on the wrong link or type the wrong thing into a search engine, and he or she can instantly be taken to websites that are not age-appropriate. Talking to your kids about the material that you do and do not approve of can help, and requiring that the internet be used in a common area of the home, such as the living room, can help as well. There are also parental software programs that you can install on your child's devices to block pornographic websites.
Cyberbullying is not going anywhere anytime soon, and it can have catastrophic effects on children. This commonly happens on social media sites but can happen elsewhere on the World Wide Web, too. Teach your child about the harmful effects of cyberbullying, monitor internet usage, let your child know that he or she can come to you if this situation ever arises, and look for mood changes and other signs that your child might be a victim of bullying (either online or offline).
Unfortunately, the internet is actually the perfect platform for a child predator to use to find victims. It is generally best for your child to maintain anonymity when dealing with others who he or she does not know, such as on online forums. Encourage your child to tighten the security settings on his or her social media profiles, to only accept friend requests from people that he or she actually knows in "real life" and to alert you if a conversation seems strange or makes him or her feel uncomfortable.
Today's internet world makes it easier than ever before for people to "overshare" information about themselves. In fact, many adults are guilty of it, and even adults sometimes find themselves in trouble with their places of unemployment or in other bad situations due to sharing the wrong photos and words on their social media profiles and elsewhere online.
Kids can be particularly vulnerable to this in a number of ways. They may provide too much information about where they live, where they go to school and where they hang out, which can put them at risk of being the target of a predator. They may share things that can negatively affect their reputation, such as a picture of a sexual nature or a picture of them using alcohol and/or drugs. Talking to your child about what is and is not appropriate for them to post on social media can help, and it's also smart to monitor your child's social media profiles and make suggestions when you see things that are inappropriate.
As you can see, there are a lot of dangers for parents to be concerned about when it comes to their children using the internet. Luckily, talking to your child about the dangers that he or she faces each time that he or she gets online, as well as using parental software and other resources and carefully monitoring your child's use of the internet, can help you keep your son or daughter safe.