During lockdown and remote learning, children are online much more, this can help with isolation and boredom but the internet does have another side. Brad from TurnOnVPN shares how to keep your kids safe online.
Technology and its devices have affected virtually every area of human life, as most things can be done online these days – banking, working, and learning. The lockdown enforced because of the coronavirus pandemic in several countries made several schools resort to online classes for their students.
Besides the learning options available for children on the internet, there are also interactive forums through which children can communicate with their friends and other people of similar interests. Although access to the internet is not well spread across the world, a report published by UNICEF shows that children who have active access to the internet at least once a week develop greater digital skills and sharper instincts.
Risks faced by children
Using the internet is however not without dangers, as children could be exposed to potentially harmful situations like:
- Online Predators – the world is full of disturbed people, many of whom have internet access. They are usually found on chatting forums with fake profiles, trying to form friendships with children to take advantage of them.
- Inappropriate Content – Several websites run ads that pop up on the screen while active. Some of these ads may contain inappropriate content of sexual nature or may contain racist or hate speeches. All these may affect the child negatively if he/she is not properly sensitized.
- Cyberbullies – A worldwide movement, Dosomething.org carried out a survey and determined that roughly 40% of adolescents and teenagers have been bullied online at least once. People online hide behind fake accounts to speak harshly to other people, especially when they realize they are relating to a child.
Respective measures for parents to help their children stay safe
- Communication – Parents need to properly educate their children on what is right and wrong, as well as teach them how to stand up for themselves against an online bully. They should also teach their children not to give out personal information to strangers online.
- VPNs – Besides the parental control option which parents can put on their kids’ devices to restrict them from age-inappropriate content, downloading a VPN on the device can encrypt the connection, barring harmful content from appearing as pop-ups.
- Monitor your Children – Parents/Guardians should also make it a point of duty to oversee their children’s online activity to make sure they aren’t exposed to wrong information. They should also ensure that their children are comfortable enough to discuss with them should they stumble on anything confusing that they find online.
The surge in the frequency of cybercrimes has led to the requirement of awareness and cybersecurity. As parents, it is important to be able to identify risks that children face and ways on how to deal with such risks.