5 Tips For Keeping Your Children Safe Online
The Internet is an incredible tool to expand knowledge and information exchange for adults and children alike. but there are pitfalls This short paper will provide you with tips to help your children safely use the internet, benefitting from the positives and helping to avoid the negatives.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The internet is a tool unlike any other in human history. It provides a vast library of information that is useful for homework, research, reports, and education in general. The useful aspects of the internet for these purposes have been highlighted with the social distancing guidance and at-home schooling. In addition to providing this wealth of information, sites on the internet make the content searchable as well as providing ways to connect with others to collaborate in learning.
However, the internet was not created as an area only for children and learning. The internet offers services that are intended for adults, like pornography, gambling and bomb-making. It also can assist with academic cheating and provide a platform for bullying through social media.
It is unlikely that you have never heard about the issues relating to child predators through TV, radio or internet stories. The platform that makes it so easy to connect to other people, even strangers, makes it so easy to connect to people who may wish harm as well.
Too Much Information
Whatever you share on the internet you are sharing with everyone – even if you feel protections are in place. Many internet crimes are rooted in collecting enough information to take advantage of someone by pretending to know them. Think of all the data that is currently available about you on the internet – name, photos, address, phone number, school, friends, schedule, travel plans, emotional state, and activities. Think of how a child might react if a person with this information was to approach them in person or online. Would they have a heightened sense of trust for that individual?
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have content controls to limit what is available. However, they are all limited in scope, limited in effectiveness, easily bypassed and loosely enforced. These sites offer free space for posting personal data for people of all ages, and without proper settings being applied, this data is available for all to see. The upside of social media is the ability to connect with others and meet new people. The downside is oversharing of information and proper filtering to make sure who is actually doing the communication on the other end. Children are especially trusting online and their use of these sites should be monitored closely. Ultimately, parents must be responsible for their children’s internet usage and safety.
As noted, the internet is a great resource, that has some drawbacks. The content is not sorted in a fashion guaranteed to keep younger users from accessing, intentionally or accidentally, material that is not intended for them. So, what do you do?
Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online
Actively Monitor – Know what sites your children are visiting and check to see that they are not accessing data that is not safe or healthy for them to view. Keep the computer in a public location. The best content control on the internet is the one you as a parent provide.
Communicate – Talk with your children about the dangers of internet use. Discuss why not to overshare information with other people or groups. Share your values and enforce the rules you make about access and use. If you don’t take this seriously, they certainly won’t.
Be Technologically Aware – Keep current with what programs are “hot” with your children, especially teenagers. Understand what the exposures are with using the latest social media tool. Become aware of how to know if children are taking steps to hide computer use or clean-up after online sessions. Know what technology is in your house, how it works, if it is wirelessly enabled, and where it came from. If something shows up that you didn’t purchase, find out where it came from and its capabilities immediately.
Know the School – Remember that kids don’t just access the internet from home. Become familiar with what capabilities your school offers for the internet and what controls they have in place. Ask how internet use is monitored. You should be just as concerned about what your child does away from home – including school and their friends’ houses.
Be In Control – When something does happen, take control. Contact the authorities, immediately stop using the computer or mobile device until evidence is collected, and protect your child. Don’t depend on service providers or web shop owners to fix problems.
Children need to be informed and educated about the consequences of their behavior online. No one can ever be truly anonymous on the internet. Content, once on the internet, is very difficult if not impossible to completely eradicate. The key to making the best use of the internet for kids is for parents to take an active role in working with and monitoring kids’ online usage.
Avansic is a leading provider of eDiscovery and digital forensics services to attorneys, litigation support teams, and business communities across the nation. We take a scientific approach to providing eDiscovery, digital forensics, data preservation, online review, and expert consulting services. Avansic has its roots in academia; we were founded in 2004 by computer science professor Dr. Gavin W. Manes. Since then, we have created a reputation as a trustworthy, reliable, and responsive specialist in eDiscovery and forensics fields.