Nowadays children do not play outside that much as they play online games and spend their time in Internet. For many parents this is sad and they try to limit the access of the kids to the online world, yet the facts are that the kids between the age of 8-18 years spend an average of 1.5 hours each day using a computer and this is time that is outside the school usage of computers.
It is a fact that the usage of Internet and all the online technologies now play great role in our lives. However, it is important for children to understand how exactly to use these tools and how to protect themselves and how not to turn into victims of cyber crimes.
The online risks
The online risks that the children face, include:
- Inappropriate Content: the kids may be exposed to inappropriate content while browsing including violent or sexually explicit material.
- Inappropriate Contact: the kids may be tricked to get in contact with individuals that have malicious intent, for example predators.
- Inappropriate Conduct: the kids feel anonymous while online and may do things that they will usually not do when facing someone.
- Identify Theft: the kids can sometimes post certain information that could endanger their identity, as it might be used by the identity thieves.
Keep the Children Safe
The parents are in capacity to follow several steps that will keep their children safe when online. The parents should keep the computer in a central position at home, open to all members of the family. They should teach their children that the parents are allowed to have supervision on the kids’ activities online:
- Monitoring on the visited sites. The parents should apply parental control tools on their home computer. The tools are available from the Internet Service Providers or could be purchased as a separate software package. The browsers also provide the option for parental controls.
- Set Rules: the parents should set rules for the usage of the computer and the other devices. They should set specific amount of time that might be spent online and should set the websites that the kid is allowed to visit. The rules need to be placed near the computer.
- Personal Information: the parents should make their kids understand why they should not share personal information online.
- Cyberbullying: the parents should teach their kids to stay away from cyberbullies. In case of incidents concerning the kid’s photograph, age, address, age etc. – the parents should report it immediately. The kid should use a safe screen name with no personal information.
- Web Filtering: the parents should buy web filtering software in order to restrict the kid’s access to inappropriate websites and content.
- Communication: the parents should always talk to their kids on all topics, encouraging the children to reveal their thoughts and feelings.