The times of children’s isolation from, and limited use of, technology, are long gone. It is a much more common situation to try to involve your child in a conversation, while he or she continues staring at the screen of the smartphone or computer. Kids like technology and feel increasingly at ease using it, in contrast to adult population that is mostly less tech-savvy. On the one hand, the trend is natural, as all domains of our lives are now connected with the Web and technology, and learning to interact with hi-tech devices can guarantee children easier education. On the other hand, technology development is also inseparably connected with dissemination of numerous cyber-threats to which children are much more vulnerable than grown-ups.
Officially Recognized Online Dangers for Your Kid
Dangers that children face online every day during their Internet use have been officially recognized on the global level, and child protection from those cyber-threats is a priority of the global scale. As recognized by the Innocenti Research Center (IRC) of the UNICEF, various kinds of online abuse targeted at children is on the rise now. The report of the EU Kids Online project, ever more children access the Web at school, at home, and when they are out, while many of them still lack basic digital and safety skills. as a result, they often become victims of such forms of abuse as:
- Exposure to sexual images (the European average is 23% of 9-16-year-olds who report having seen sexually explicit images online for the past 12 months)
- Cyber-bullying. The percentage of bullying victims grows globally; this form of abuse is usually expressed in nasty, hurtful messages sent to the child, their further dissemination online, and other nasty activities with aggression towards the bullied object.
- Sexual messages. The number of sexual predators and pedophiles online continues to increase; these can take the form of explicit offers of sex or images of sexual acts.
- Undesirable contacts with strangers online. Many children report receiving messages from strangers who offer an offline meeting, which is a potentially dangerous situation. Such strangers may be pedophiles, criminals aiming to kidnap a child, etc.
- Other risks including hate messages and misuse of personal data – both also potentially dangerous for the child and containing inherent risks for the child’s well-being
One of the surest ways of protecting a child from Internet threats is to limit or supervise his or her online activities, but this is not always possible. Children may need a computer while you are at work, and you may only guess what is happening when you are away and your kid is online. Hence, to avoid such a situation is proper safety education. We recommend parental control applications for children. This application has many functions, more detailed with the overview of applications you can see on this site
What to teach your child about online security and proper conduct?
- Never sharing personal data. Teach your child to keep all passwords private, and never to share any personal information with strangers online.
- Banning undesirable contacts. Once a child starts receiving nasty messages or experiences any other form of harassment online, he or she should know how to block or ban undesirable contacts. It is also recommended to use official complaint forms with proof, for the bully to be deleted from the network.
- Reporting all suspicious efforts of contact. Even when you keep all settings secure, there is still a chance that your kid will be found by an online predator. For such cases, teach your child about appropriate boundaries of online education and ask him/her to inform you about all contacts from strangers with implicit or explicit sexual content.
- Using the Web without privacy. If the child only makes the first independent steps online, it is much better to place his/her computer in a common area of your dwelling, so that you can keep all activities under control. It is not necessary to stand behind the child’s shoulder all the time, but the kid will know that somebody may come at any moment, which may help restrict any inappropriate experimentation with the Web.
Besides these educational issues, it is always appropriate to have some sort of content monitoring software such as a spy or a parental control app. In this way, you will be confident that your child is always protected from adult or violent content, even if it gets to your computer by chance or a child comes across it online accidentally. Use of monitoring apps significantly increases the level of security, and you may rest assured in your child’s protection while at the same time not losing his/her trust because of Internet use restrictions.