Violence, sex, nudity, and explicit language, pornography, online gambling, online predators, viruses, spyware, and adware; these are some of the threats that your kids can encounter while using the internet. And since you can’t monitor them all the time, you need to find ways to protect your kids from these threats.
The sad reality, though, is the fact even amongst the adult population there is still rampant digital illiteracy. Many adults have not a clue on how they can protect themselves while online, so many may ignore talking about protecting their kids.
In fact, even without saying, many adults assume that the younger dot.com generation readily knows a thing or two about protecting themselves while on the internet. As it is, many consult these youngsters on matters relating to internet usage. And these assumptions are as faulty as anything.
They are misinformed because a great deal of scientific research has shown that children are the high risk groups in as far as internet threats are concerned. So protecting them should rank high in our priorities as the older generation.
These are some of the few ways you, as an adult, can ensure the safety of those under your guardianship:
- Teach them to stay secure. Talk to them about personal security while using the internet. Tell them to refuse giving any personal information to people they meet online. Avoid filling out membership and survey forms that would entail them to state their personal information.
- Place your computer in a place where you can monitor your kids’ use of the internet and not in their bedroom.
- Set up house rules to limit your kids’ internet access. As an adult, one key responsibility is to educate your children on what digital safety and security are and how they should always sift through online content.
- Keep your kids’ computer account “limited. This will keep you in control over the significant access to the computer.
- Discourage them from making personal profiles using online networking websites that can be viewed by anyone. Sites like Facebook or Instagram create venues for online predators to access different personal information for their predatory purposes. If your kids already have profiles posted on the web, make sure that you know what pictures and personal information they post. Also, view their personal blogs.
- If your kids are young enough to use the regular web browser, download web-browsers that are made for kids. They filter bad websites and limit your kids’ access to pre-approved webpages.
- Tell them to avoid peer-to-peer file-sharing softwares. This is because viruses, spyware, and adware can freely enter your computer through these softwares.
- Use internet filtering software to block bad websites from your computer. There is way of interacting within the digital world that will ensure that users are protected at all times.
- Use internet monitoring software to secretly track the activity of your kids from websites visited, chat rooms entered, downloads, and conversation.
- Attend to your kids immediately if they report any uncomfortable online exchanges they have encountered.
- Share a common email address so that you can monitor their messages.
- If they use instant messaging, make sure that you know who are on their list.
- Tell them not to meet personally with strangers they only met online.
- And, teach them to approach you whenever they have any doubts on the emails and messages they receive, window popups that appears, and forms they were asked to fill-out.
There’s no belittling it, digital illiteracy has caused much misery than ancient plagues, people have been harassed, cyber-bullied, human-trafficked and many such evils. So protecting the young has never been more pressing.