More and more kids today are using the internet at a younger age. And it’s no surprise; the internet can be a great place to hang out and socialize with friends, there are fun videos and games, and lots more. Over the past year, online learning for kids during the pandemic has made the internet more important than ever for families. However, the internet also has a dark side for kids. One in five children who use the internet have been sexually solicited and another one in four has seen unwanted pornographic material. So, how do you make sure that your kids are having fun online while keeping them safe?
Use Parental Control Apps:
If your child is a teenager and you trust them to take care of themselves online, this might not be necessary. But for younger kids who may be blissfully unaware of what they are getting themselves into online, parental control apps can literally be a lifesaver. You can set the app up to only show your child certain websites and ensure that any topics you don’t want your child to stumble across online like pornography or violence are completely blocked. Some parental control apps also have the option to limit your child’s internet access to certain times, allowing you to easily get them off their phones and into bed.
Verify Contact Information:
Almost 60% of teens have received an instant message or an email from a stranger online. And with more and more teens now using social media sites, this occurrence is only increasing. Before allowing your teen to sign up to social media, it’s important to ensure that they understand the importance of keeping their profile private and only accepting messages from people that they know wherever possible. Your teen should know that they are able to come to you at any time if they have been contacted by a suspicious stranger online. You can use Nuwber to search for the stranger’s contact information using their email address, telephone number, or name and find out exactly who is trying to get in touch with your kid.
Most of the time, internet dangers for kids don’t start out that way. Your child might be lured into a dangerous situation that starts out feeling quite fun and interesting for them. Bear in mind that predators might pose as kids of a similar age to your own, hoping to gain the trust of underage children for nefarious purposes, all while the kids believe that they’re talking to somebody that they have a lot in common. It’s all very scary, which is why it’s so important to encourage open communication between you and your child when it comes to what they are doing online and who they are talking to. The earlier you find out about potentially suspicious people who are contacting your child online, the better. Unsupervised chat rooms are some of the most dangerous places online for young users. Make sure that your child understands the risks.
Although it may not be as dangerous as child molesters preying on kids online, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect on a child’s mental health. Sending hurtful messages, posting hurtful content on social media, or spreading hurtful rumors publicly are just some examples of cyberbullying. Make sure that your child knows not to participate in this behavior and to come and tell you immediately if they believe that they have been a target of it.