Back when we were kids, the most trouble we got into was a scolding for climbing a neighbor’s tree. We know now that it was dangerous. But who would have thought that kids would someday face dangers in their own homes, a place where they should be protected? That’s the reality today.
It’s scary to think about online threats. But, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and 45%
say they are online ‘almost constantly’. So, we can’t simply bury our heads in the sand on this
one. As parents, it’s our responsibility to protect our children by educating them about online
securities, like VPN, by reading reliable websites, such as Web Safety Advice.
Watch Out for Online Bullies
From snarky comments on social media to full-on trolling, most kids experience some form of
cyberbullying at some point nowadays. Your kid might even be a victim of bullying and they
might not be able to notice the signs.
Take a preemptive approach and let your child know that they can talk to you about anything
they experience online. Encourage them to share with you by letting them know that they won’t
lose their online privileges if they report online bullies to you. Explain to them what bullying is
and provide examples that will make it easy for them to determine if they are already bullied.
Make sure to provide concrete yet simple examples so your kid will be able to understand all of
this information. If they are old enough, you can also talk to them about the dangers of bullying
and why it’s important for them to let other people know about their experience, if they have
Keep an eye on their social networks so that you can spot bullying behavior. If possible, ask for
their account credentials so you can randomly check every once in a while. Furthermore, look
out for changes in their personality and habits offline as it may indicate that something is wrong.
Beware of Predators
It’s difficult to imagine that your child might be targeted by a malicious individual. But,
unfortunately, there are threats out there that you need to shield your child against. The recent
“MoMo Challenge” and its repercussions are just one example of such.
The first step towards protecting your kid is to warn them not to share any personal information
with strangers or in public chats under any circumstances. You should also monitor their online
activities to ensure that they are not talking with strangers over the World Wide Web. If your kid
has social media profiles, their connections should only be individuals whom they personally
know. You may want to add an extra layer of security and install an encryption tool on your
devices. This way your kids can browse anonymously and the risk of a cybercriminal gaining
access to private information is greatly reduced.
Help Kids to Spot Ads
It’s sometimes hard for kids to distinguish an ad from regular content. Some free apps are riddled with ads and pop-ups. Teach younger children how to recognize them by using apps or playing games with them. You can point out exactly the kind of thing they are not to tap on. Explain that tapping on such may result in you spending real money or accidentally downloading viruses that damage their beloved devices.
You can also invest or pay for apps or software that blocks these unwanted ads. Although this
service might entail additional cost from your pocket, this will ultimately give you peace of mind
knowing that your kid is not clicking or tapping unnecessary or explicit ads online.
Use Parental Controls
Parental controls prevent children from accessing inappropriate content. You can switch them on within the settings of most apps and devices. For example, YouTube is hugely popular with kids these days. We might not be able to understand it as parents but, for some reason, they just can’t get enough of watching other people play video games… Anyway, you can switch on “Restricted Mode” within your YouTube account, which screens for and blocks mature content.
Unplug from Time to Time
You can’t ban technology altogether. As we all know, if you take something away or make it
dangerous and exciting, your kids will want it more. Totally depriving your kid of technology
can also stagnate their learning and adversely affect their mental health. Since most kids have
their own gadgets today, your kid’s inability to hop into the bandwagon can become the reason
why they will become subject to bullying or ridicule in school.
Although important, it’s important to have some good old-fashioned fun with the family. Did
you know that, on average, we spend 24 hours per week on the web? So, have everybody switch
off their devices and get active from time to time. Regardless of how busy you are at home or
work, you should allocate time and energy to bond with your kids. Depending on your
preference, you can play at home with them or take them out for a nice meal at their favorite
If your kids followed all of the rules you’ve set concerning online safety, you can reward them
by treating them to a local amusement park. Aside from spending time with your kids, this will
also motivate them to stick to your rules on online safety.
Because, at the end of the day, one way to keep kids safe is to ensure that they aren’t spending all
of their time on a tablet or phone.
Now it’s over to you. If you put these safety measures in place and allow your kids to talk openly about their gaming and browsing activities, they are less likely to run into any dangers.