The Dangers of the Internet for Children and How to Keep them Safe Online
The internet is one of the most important inventions of our time and for our children, it can be an excellent resource to help with their education. Within a click, our children can learn about people, places and other relevant points in history. But with that access to information, there are also dangers our children can face.
Did you know that over 40% of children have spoken to strangers online? (Source FirewallTechnical.com) or that 5% of children have revealed where they live on a messenger app? These numbers are frightening to me as they are to most parents. So what can you do about it?
In this article, we will discuss some of the dangers of the internet and how to protect your children from them.
Online predators will join children’s websites and pose as them to learn more details about your child and elicit more information on where you live, who they live with and sometimes they will even solicit inappropriate pictures from them.
Talking to strangers online is very dangerous for your children as they don’t have the knowledge to know what is happening to them. There are apps such as Net Nanny that can be installed on your computer system to monitor chat apps and other social media usage but this software can’t always be right and the best way to keep your children safe and to stop them from talking to strangers is to browse the internet at the same time with them.
- Downloading dangerous files
Downloading dangerous files from the internet can mean that your system will be infected with ransomware or malware. Ransomware or Malware is a term used that means your system will be infected with malicious code which can then lock you out of your system and steal your data.
Usually, these types of attacks are used on businesses to steal money and ransom back that companies data, however malware can be used to infect your system so that it can access your data such as your home address and it could even turn your webcam on and watch you without you knowing.
Both are frightening scenarios so be sure to teach your children all about the dangers of downloading files from the internet. As a parent, you can protect yourself a little by downloading good anti-virus software solutions and malware software.
There are many free versions on the market, AVG and Malwarebytes are a great place to start to protect your children and your computer network.
- Keep up to date with new threats
The software can only do so much so as a parent if you want to keep your children safe while using the internet you will need to learn of new threats as and when they are happening. Now you don’t need to be looking at cybersecurity forums every day but just keeping up to date as much as possible will give you an advantage over people that may want to cause harm to your children.
- Monitor your children’s social media and browsing history
Some parents will feel like they are invading their children’s privacy by doing this but as a parent, it is your job to keep your children safe and the best way of doing so is to monitor your children’s activity.
Looking at the sites your child visits, the people who they follow and are followed by on social media and any chats they may have on messenger apps may seem like prying but that’s usually where online predators will hang out.
If you notice your child is being sent messages by a stranger it’s easier for you to notice the danger signs than it is for your child. Monitoring your children’s social media and private chats will keep your children safe.
- Report inappropriate activity
All parents need to work together by not only keeping their children safe but other peoples children too. If you notice any behaviour that is inappropriate be sure to report it to the relevant authorities in your area. Not only will you be keeping your children safe but you could save someone else’s child too.
Online predators will target multiple children so if all parents are more vigilant and report inappropriate behaviour it’s far easier for the police to catch predators online.
- Share your knowledge with other parents
Not all parents will have the same knowledge as you and may not even know that the internet can be a dangerous place. If you have knowledge that can keep your children safe then be sure to share it with as many parents as possible.
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