In today’s technologically advanced world, one of the biggest challenges parents face is how to protect their children from the multitude of Internet dangers. While the Internet offers kids unprecedented opportunities to creatively communicate and learn new things, it also exposes them to the risk of cyberstalkers and cyberbullies. However, the good news is that there are several ways you can keep your children safe from cyberbullying, cyberstalking and other kinds of online threats. Let’s take a look at them!
Talk to Your Kids about Cyberstalking:
An open, honest communication is the key to protect your child from cyberstalking and other online dangers. Explain clearly to your kids what cyberstalking is and why they should never respond to any kind of nasty messages, emails or comments online. Just as you teach your children about real world dangers, discuss with them about what is okay and not okay to do online. Rules apply to the online world too, so be sure set a few ones before your child steps into the virtual world.
Teach Them to Never Reveal Personal Information:
Sharing too much personal information online makes your kids more prone to identity theft or harassment. Ask your children to never post personal private information such as postal address, phone number, e-mail address, the name or location of school, etc, online; otherwise they could be a victim of a cyberstalker or cyberbully. Also, instruct your children to never upload or send a picture without your permission.
Keep Your Child’s Computer Out in the Open:
Instead of placing the computer in a secluded area, consider placing it in a highly trafficked area (like a bedroom, living room and any other open area) of your house where parents and other family members can easily see what’s going on your child’s computer screen. When the computer is in an open area, your little one will be less inclined to do things that he shouldn’t be doing. And if he still does, you’ll know about it immediately.
Supervise Your Child's Online Activity:
No matter what device - a Computer, a Tablet or a Smartphone, your tot is using, it must always be under your watchful eye. Doing so will benefit you in two ways. First, your child will less likely to browse inappropriate material and second, you can easily notice any instances of cyberstalking in advance. Monitor what your kids are doing and saying online by checking their browsing history and reviewing their digital communication and social accounts on a daily basis.
Keep Your Home Network Secure:
Use powerful and updated security software to avoid the risk of viruses infecting your computer or other mobile and tablet devices. Apply a strong password to your home’s wireless network and always keep your computer’s firewall on. Also, never share the password with your children. The more secure your home network is, the less will be the chances of your kids visiting a malicious or vulnerable website.
Use the Most Stringent Privacy and Safety Settings:
Be it Facebook, Instagram, Kik, or Snapchat, every social network has its own unique privacy and security settings. To ensure your child’s information will only be shared with the circle of his trusted friends, select the most stringent privacy and safety settings on all your little one’s online accounts. In addition, check these settings regularly to verify if your child’s online account and other contents are viewable only by his trusted friends.
Solicit the Help of Parental Control Tools:
Nowadays, most of the tech-savvy kids know very well how to change their networks’ privacy settings. For such children, you can take advantage of parental control software that is built specifically to help you monitor and control what your kids can or cannot do online. In spite of this, if you think your child is clever enough to bypass parental controls, consider hiring a local expert to make all the settings hack-proof.
Ask Your Kids to Avoid Clicking Links and Downloads:
Sexual predators and other cyber criminals often use colorful banners and links to attract children. Clicking on these can cause your child to land on a malicious page that is designed to install spyware on the respective device. Teach your kids to avoid downloads and ask them to always grant permission before clicking any suspicious link or banner. However, the best practice for a child is to avoid clicking any links at all.
Teach Them to Log Out of Public Computers:
Teach your child to log out of his all accounts on public computers, in case he ever needs to use the one in an emergency. The same rule should also be followed at home when your kid finishes his work. This is absolutely essential because a cyber attacker can change passwords or even lock online accounts if your little one stays login without any genuine online work. Even better, this doesn't give others any chance to use your accounts on your behalf.
Set Limits on Late-night Use:
Limiting the amount of time your children spends on internet accessible devices is also an efficient way to protect them from cyberstalkers and cyberbullies. Particularly during evening and late-night hours, sexual predators are more active because they know this is the time when kids have almost zero supervision. To eliminate this risk, impose restrictions on accessing internet during late-night hours - usually after 9pm.
Hope you will find this article informative for you. Visit WobblyWalk.com now to read more articles related to parenting and kids safety.
How has the coronavirus outbreak disrupted your life? And how are you dealing with it? Write to us or send us a video with subject line 'Coronavirus Disruption' to firstname.lastname@example.org