Around the world, children are using the internet with a self-assurance that makes parents uncomfortable. Long gone are the times when computer, tablet and mobile phone were unheard of in children’s rooms. But of course, the web can be a dangerous place for a child. Internet safety for children is a topic we need to concern ourselves with.
Do you always know what your children are searching for online and what is best when it comes to internet safety for children? We can tell you more.
Threats for children on the web
When it comes to internet safety for children we need to keep in mind that children are often blind to the dangers lurking on the internet. They can play online games, read the news on their favourite pop idol and listen to music. They know how to chat with their friends on the web and how to get answers to questions they would be afraid to ask in person.
But do children even know about data protection breaches, malware, cyber mobbing and scams? Children are by nature more trusting and tend to believe what they read and see. Therefore they need assistance and help when it comes to their activity on the internet and social media.
What are children looking for online?
According to the Norton Security Report , parents are afraid that their children are not safe online. But are children really interested in info, games and movies only meant for adults? What do children look for online?
At the top of children’s popularity scale with 17,25 percent are videos, such as cartoons, gaming streams and animals. But also popular with children are their favourite star’s newest hits. Translation services are second place. Children are not discouraged by foreign languages on the internet but rather curious to find out more about them. Ranked third with about ten percent are all sorts of online communication, including photo sharing services. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr are favoured by children and young adults. Adolescents are not very interested in online dating as a recent study found out.
Dangers online – parents’ responsibilities
For Children’s Day 2018 Eset gives parents advice on internet safety for children. Talking to each other and telling children about the risks of the internet is only one important thing parents should do. It is important to keep in mind this guideline: “Never do something online that you wouldn’t do in the real world.” Children should absolutely know about and keep this in mind especially when it comes to commenting and sharing private information on social media.
Speaking of social media: There comes a moment when messenger apps and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become irresistible for children. Even though recent data protection laws have raised the minimum age to 16 years, most children start using at least one messenger app by the end of primary school.
Online threats posed by social media
What risks are involved in using social media? What do children and parents need to keep in mind? It is important that children only connect to people online that they really know. Furthermore, they should always be careful with the information they share. Social media is a haven for people with bad intentions as their true identity does not have to be disclosed.
Cyber mobbing is another red-hot topic when it comes to adolescents. It is easy for bullies to defame someone via social media. The damage can be significant but you can guard your child against it. To make sure children turn to their parents in a situation of cyber mobbing, parents should openly talk to their children about their online activities and what they write via WhatsApp etc.
Child protection on the internet
If you observe your child’s first contact with the web, give proper guidance and keep an open conversation about what goes on online, you have already done a lot in terms of internet safety for children. But there is always room for more.
According to a recent study by Norton, there are still 12 percent of parents who do not take any preventive measures for their child’s protection online. And even though 85 percent of parents believe it to be dangerous to let children use a computer or mobile device unsupervised, 72 percent leave their child sometimes or always unsupervised when they use a mobile device.
Tips to avoid online threats
It is indispensable that parents pay close attention to their child’s online activity to tell them about the dangers of the internet. And then tell them how to avoid online risks. The Norton Security Report offers tips on internet safety for children:
- Set a time limit for your child’s online activity. Also state which content they are allowed to access on the web and how they should best communicate online. Keep in mind that these allowances match your child’s maturity, age and comprehension of the dangers of the internet.
- Children should not feel like their online activity is under constant surveillance. Keep a healthy balance of control and freedom to know what your child does online. This way your child will come to you in case it needs help or has worries.
- Talk to your child about using the internet or experiences they made online. Not once but every now and then.
- Children should know not to click on links that could lead them to dangerous or inappropriate sites. This applies to watching videos as well as unknown links received via email.
- Stay observant: Your child has access to very different content through websites, apps, games or online communities. They can have either a negative or positive impact on your child. Protective measures for families and safety settings in your browser can help to shield your child from online threats.
- Sensitise your child to keeping private things private. Sharing and posting personal information, photos and videos can be risky on social media.
Protecting children on the internet is a challenge for parents
Nowadays you cannot forbid your child to use the internet. At some point they are curious to explore this medium. And this is a good thing because all of us are using the web on a daily basis. We shop online, manage our finances and keep in touch with friends via social media.
Children have to learn all of this. To protect children from dangers online parents should not only talk to their child but also prep their home computer. Do you need help to find the right child protection software? Or help with installing it on your home computer? Just visit a TrustATec service partner near you. Our expert technicians are happy to help you with appropriate software installation, such as F-Secure Safe, which has family protection built in.