The 4-year-old boy sits on the bench and plays online games every day, while my daughter (the same age) plays active games with other children. This playground’s picture shows the huge difference in priorities, which parents puts in their minors. I don’t believe there is a magical age when every child should get their first gadget. The level of maturity and responsibility varies for every child. I don’t think my daughter should have a phone when she is 9. She should understand how tricky the device can be while using it, as even the youngsters can get into online trap.
Only 39% of teens concern about their personal information being exposed online
– the latest survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) shows.
Our children often don’t care about the possibility of facing the number of risks on the Internet. In fact, we should take into account that during the past 25 years the ways we interact have profoundly changed. Parents are those, who are responsible for teaching kids about the problems of sharing and online privacy. Definitely there are more online harms we should know, not only privacy issue. Non-acquaintance about negative sides of the Internet puts you up with a threat, so you would better be prepared and protected in advance.
Since I’ve become a parent, I started to think twice before I post the photo with my kid online. But I worry even more, when my child takes the device and starts living online. Let’s look through these Internet dangers classified by OECD’s “The protection children online” report.
While reading the OECD’s Internet risks review, I’ve discovered a lot of youngsters’ online trends. Some of them must be known by every parent:
- “Dedipix.” It’s a French phenomenon among teenagers, whereby children post a picture of one of their body parts (nude or semi-nude) with a message written on it. Parents should point the privacy risks and the fact that these teens, looking for popularity and good social media ratings, aren’t really conscious about the consequences of their actions because most of them don’t mask their faces.
- “Happy slapping” refers to an assault by teenagers either “just for fun” or as a part of a deliberate assault or robbery while someone films the action with a cell phone camera. The videos are then posted on video-sharing platforms or exchanged via mobile phones.
- “Flaming” is a form of cyberbullying (primarily mobile phone type of harassment) in which kids have very intense and aggressive argument via e-mail or instant messaging. It is also can be called as “cyberstalking”, and ranges from intimidation, embarrassment and humiliation. Offenders may also compromise the victim’s personal details in order to cause psychological and physical distress. Such online harassment seems to be a growing area of concern, especially via older children.
- “Stranger danger” is a term coined to highlight the possibility of threatening contact from unknown adults, particularly sexual predators, not only on the Internet. Especially risky contacts with strangers occur on chatrooms.
- “Cybergrooming” is the widest term for contact risks with adult person, who uses the Internet to form a trusting relationship with a child with the intent of having sexual contact. It is a criminal offence in several countries. The concept of “sexual solicitation” was researched widely by Wolak’s studies. According to Wolak 25% of young people interact and share information with strangers online. It appears that children are only exceptionally abused by adult predators who contacted the victim online and lied about their age, identity or intention to have sexual contact offline. It does indicate the need for understanding how to tackle or prevent such situations from occuring.
- “Online gambling” is a financial threat to parents if minors have access to a credit card or other means of payment such as mobile phone. It is illegal in most countries.
Parents should understand that online life remains to be the part of real life. And whether you like it or not, here and there you can see tons of black screens, unceparatable from children. And this is our responsibility to protect our kids from negative impacts and stay informed about risks as much as possible. Follow some instructions to prevent these threats:
- Priorities rule. I have a rule in my family that taking a device is the last thing I can do during the day. And it really works, because I always have something interesting to do in “real life” instead of staring at screen. The first very important thing in teaching your kid is giving them the opportunities of games and activities outside the Internet. It’s some kind of setting up healthy screen traditions. It’s better to look for an amazing book in the bookstore together than choose the appropriate online game in the app store. It’s better to open and read the children’s book before bedtime, than pull back your kid from the tablet screen. Nevertheless, sooner or later the minors will be experiencing online with their own smartphones.
2. Get involved. Educate early and often. Be an impressive guide for your kids. Be the most reliable tightrope for your tech-child, who walks between the profound benefits (opportunities to learn, share and communicate online) versus the entertainment and the number of Internet risks. The secret of their balance is their good education about all positive and negative sides of online life.
You should know which sites the child is using, vet all app downloads, keep an eye on security settings and make decision whether it’s safe and appropriate for them to use. Remind them about Internet dangers and safe online behavior regularly: don’t accept friendship request from person you don’t know, verify requests from someone you do know, never agree to a private chat with a stranger, never post your personal information (phone number, home address, relatives’ contacts).
Talk to your kids about how they use their computers, tablets, or smartphones and ask about any concerns they might have online. Conversations about Internet protection is the starting point for the best online safety.
3. Teach kids to keep data secure. Always pick a file sharing service that allows to create “private” folders, so that only people with access credentials could see files. Get into the habit of deleting files once they have been shared. Delete all sensitive files that have been already shared. If friends share uncomfortable files, child also should delete them and don’t forward them to others.
Be careful about giving somebody the personal information including photos as once they are sent they could go anywhere.
When it comes to passwords tell kids to use long sentences. Easy for children to remember and hard for others to crack. And keep it in secret together. Also explain why they should use different passwords for each account and the consequences of not doing so.
Teach how to check that the virus protection is updated and how to answer requests. If children are unsure, they can ask parents.
- Social networks as a specific concern. Your kid can feel safe by the apparent distance a screen gives between him and the person he is communicate. Always remind children that online is still the real world. Everything that kids do over the Internet is captured and could come back to haunt them. Further it can influence your getting the university degree or job hiring, because some serious people might look at social media profiles when researching candidates.
“If you wouldn’t do it face to face – don’t do it online,” – Shelagh McManus, online safety advocate for security software Norton recommends. Ask children to check their privacy settings and be accurate with the info they post (or lock down their profiles.) It’s very important to be friended on Facebook to monitor child’s post and control the content he publishes.
- Boundaries that bring freedom. The discussions about boundaries and screen time limits provide a clear understanding of what is safe and secure. Get the parental control app like Kidslox to be sure that your child will know why the daily limits schedule is needed and what should be prevented as inappropriate content and some online risks.
Kidslox parental control lets you block apps, block internet and filter web content with ease. One account is all you need to protect as many iPhones, iPads, iPods, Android phones and tablets and other mobile devices as you have in your family. Prioritise your family time by placing daily limits on your child’s screen time.
“Enforcing boundaries and engaging in age-appropriate open conversations about your child’s online activities will encourage your cyberminds to learn the benefits and realise the dangers of the Internet. Parental control boundaries can bring freedom,” – Ben Densham, CTO of cybersecurity testing company Nettitude admits.