No matter how secure you think the internet is, it can be dangerous place for children. There are many advantages and opportunities ranging from information research, interacting with friends, watching videos and listening to music. But all this also brings certain dangers of the digital world.
The prerequisite for responsible use of the Internet is knowledge. The more you know about your children potential dangers, the better you can tackle these issues.
To improve the overall online security of kids, I have compiled a list of five common mistakes you can take to enhance your kid’s safety.
Mistake 1: Not All Search Engines are Safe
If you think that a secure device protects your kids from inappropriate online content, then you are mistaken. There are tons of websites on the internet that are not intended for children.
If your children use search engines that don’t have an option for setting age restrictions to lookup anything on the internet, then there is no guarantee that they may stumble upon pornographic or violent content.
If you want to prevent children from accessing such content, you can set up child-friendly search engines, such as Kidrex or Kiddle as the default search. They have features like youth endangering, which automatically filters out inappropriate webpages.
Mistake 2: Secure passwords
The most critical element that can put your kid’s privacy at risk is the use of easily guessed passwords. Passwords must be secure, regularly changed and inaccessible for unauthorized use. Double check the link you are registering to is an official one.
It is essential to create strong passwords so that hackers and others alike cannot take advantage of your personal data and target kids.
Try to make strong passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as special characters. Since such passwords are not secure to remember, one can come up with a sentence and create a password from the first letters of each word. Some powerful password managers can do this for you and secure all your accounts.
Mistake 3: Hand over personal information
With the tons social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube now accessible to kids, there is no stopping the data they share it with third parties. It is essential to check the privacy settings and to keep them strict as possible.
This is especially true for settings such as findability of profile, the ability to be contacted by strangers and the extent of visibility of data within the community.
For kids account, try to keep the information limited (such as address, cell phone or telephone number). It is recommended that parents should set up a profile together with their children.
Mistake 4: Sensitive Images on Social
The time your children spends online, the activities they do, forms their digital footprint. It is advised to guide them on what to share and what no to. If other people have given access to your private content then with only those who you fully trust.
Everyone has a right to their own image but sharing cautiously can keep your kids out of unimaginable consequences. As there are some cases reported in which Facebook photos of children from unknown third party apps were published on pornographic sites. Minors should be extremely careful with beach photos and other permissive images.
Mistake 5: Communicate safely – Do not talk to strangers!
When dealing with other people, the same rules apply to the digital world as outside. Ask your child to communicate only with people they know personally, such as school friends. Make your kids aware that people in the online world may not be as they pretend. Many perpetrators use the network anonymously and pretend to be somebody else.
Therefore, never share or exchange any information of personal nature with strangers. If possible, communicate only in protected forums where there are open chats or online games with chat function.
This is because strangers can approach children and try to gain their confidence by communicating with them on a sexual level and send unsuitable content. Explain these dangers to your child on the Internet so that they can always turn to you if something happens.
Remember, data once posted online, there is no going back. It cannot be erased and could resurface even if you remove it. Also, pictures can be easily copied and misused for other purposes!
Online awareness and talking to your child about the danger of online content are one of the most effective ways of dealing with the Internet risks. And to protect your child from becoming an unconscious victim of these perpetrators. In addition, you can increase protection through technical measures, like heightening security settings on the respective device and via use of suitable child protection softwares.