It’s the start of the summer vacations, a time of the year when your child has a lot of free time and stays glued to the devices either playing games or watching videos. With a third of India’s population aged less than 14 years, online safety for children is an issue of paramount importance.
Unlike adults, children cannot understand the risks involved in sharing the family’s daily routine, their holiday plans, time when there are no adults at home, and other such details with a complete stranger on the Internet. From phishers and hackers to pedophiles, there are numerous risks that kids must be safeguarded from on the Internet. That is why parents need to be more proactive in making sure children are secure online.
Online child safety is a process that will require different tactics and strategies depending on the age and maturity of the children. Denying unmonitored access is the safest way to protect young children from online risks. Combining supervised Internet surfing with tools like parental controls and filters is an effective strategy for youngsters.
Demanding complete obedience may not work well with adolescents and teenagers. The best way to protect them is to combine education and awareness with monitoring and self-discipline. A responsible parent can rely on the following strategies to secure online child safety.
Unrestricted and uncontrolled Internet access is a shortcut to disaster. It is very important to establish clear and firm ground rules related to Internet access for children. Some useful rules for youngsters include:
It is important to monitor your child’s online surfing habits. Every quality antivirus and antimalware program includes parental control features and content filters to protect children from online risks. You can combine such programs with tools like NetNanny that are designed specifically to monitor your child’s activities on the computer and on the Internet.
Ultimately, self-discipline and awareness about online risks are the best safeguards against online risks. Combine strict rules and regular monitoring with educating your child about cyber risks and its potential implications. Explain how seemingly-innocent details like future holiday plans and parents’ work schedule can put your child at risk.
Use online resources to help your child understand how phishers and hackers target young children. Further, educate your child about cyber bullying and risks of accessing inappropriate content. Organize a group activity for your child and all his or her friends to ensure the learning and awareness about cyber safety can become a social and peer-based activity.
While you should try your best to protect your kids from cyber risks, you should also encourage the child to speak up in the event they commit a mistake. Children may hide instances of identity theft, cyber bullying, or inappropriate interaction initiated by a stranger on the Internet out of fear of being punished.
Create an environment where the child can speak about such topics in a confident manner. This will help you take action against any unsafe cyber activity before it causes a lot of damage to your child.
The Internet is here to stay, and helping your child understand the importance of online safety will be a valuable lesson that will help him or her for a long time in the future. Combine technology and firm parenting with open communication to keep your child safe from online risks at all times.