The digital revolution has changed the way we all communicate. The internet in particular has given us as well as young people the freedom to connect, learn and explore beyond their physical surroundings. Since the pandemic, the uptake of internet usage by young people has drastically increased. With many people now digitally connected, it won’t be long before they connect with someone they do not know.
Just like the real world, the internet has dark corners and can be a dangerous playground for young people. As parents, you may be worried about the risks that come with their use of the online world. Though there is a lot of information out there on how to keep young people safe online, it can be difficult for you to know where to start.
That’s why to celebrate #SaferInternetDay2022, this guide will give you the essentials you need to know how to keep your child digitally safe.
Before we look at the essentials, it’s worth understanding the potential dangers your children could be exposed to online.
Types of Online Dangers
The digital world can be a dangerous place for anyone, including young people. Online dangers can have serious, costly, and even lead to tragic events. A report from Unicef highlighted that 80% of children from 25 countries have been exposed to sexual abuse or online exploitation. What’s more, a third of young people in 30 countries have been cyberbullied, thus affecting their education.
As parents, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks your children could be exposed to. Cyberbullying, scams, identity theft, inappropriate content, and malware attacks are some of the risks your children are exposed to.
It’s also important to realize that children can also be putting you and the rest of the family at risk by falling for online ads and scams.
So, how do you keep your children digitally safe? That’s where our essential guide comes in place.
The Essential Guide to Keeping Children Safe Online
As parents and guardians, it’s important to ensure that you have an open relationship with your children, and that includes giving them the “Talk” about online dangers. To truly keep your family and young people digitally safe, you need to take proactive measures.
1. Parental Controls:
Learn to exercise your parental rights by putting computers or devices in a family common room so you can keep an eye on what your children are doing. You can also Parental Control apps that allow you to manage and monitor your children’s access to the internet. This includes keeping a track of their screen time.
2. Device and Software Maintenance:
Talk to your children about keeping their devices and software systems up to date. Keep antivirus software and firewall protection to the latest versions. This can prevent your or young people from accidentally downloading malware or viruses from websites.
3. Responsible Smartphone Use:
Teach your children to use their smartphones responsibly. Assure them that their smartphone belongs to them and no one else should use it. By sharing phones, it can potentially expose information, or allow others to mimic them online.
4. Teach Young People on “shareware”:
Talk to your children about being conscious about what they post online. Social media can be a great way to meet like-minded people in different parts of the world, but people are not always who they claim to be online.
Tips for social media safety:
- Encourage young people not to post inappropriate comments or photos.
- Encourage them to block anyone harassing, threatening, or posting inappropriate content and use the Report functions on social sites and apps.
- Tell them never to meet people personally unless accompanied by an adult
5. Online Gaming Safety:
Most young people are used to playing games online. However, there are plenty of dangers even on those sites that young people need to be aware of.
As parents, before your child starts playing on the game, always check:
- Check the game ratings and see whether it’s appropriate for your child.
- Check if the game has other functionalities such as Chatting or web browsing
- Block your children from sharing their locations
- Block or put a limit on the online gaming purchases
- Use voice masking if it’s featured on your child’s headset
Unfortunately, bullying has moved on from the playground and has entered the digital space. With the growing number of people online, cyberbullying has increased.
As parents, you can encourage your children to tell you or their teachers if something has upset them online.
If your child is being cyberbullied, then you can take proactive measures to report the bullying and block them from sites or apps.
7. Stranger Danger:
Finally, just as you would tell your children not to talk to strangers, or take anything from them, the same rule applies in the online world. Talk to your children about the concept of online “stranger danger” and always set social media profiles or any other website profiles to Private mode.
There are plenty of Privacy and Security features that official sites and apps have to make their experience as safe and friendly as possible.
As the internet continues to expand and evolve, so will the dangers. That’s why it’s really important to stay up to date with the safety measures you and young people can take. By signing up for services like Siccura, you can ensure that you and your family live a private and secure digital life. Siccura offers a wide range of products, including one that teaches you and your family about the dangers that lurk in the digital world. To find out about Siccura Cybershield, contact us.