Just like the life itself, the Internet is quite diverse and can be both useful and dangerous. Some threats are universally detrimental to all, but there are issues which are more characteristic of kids. Children are less experienced, they are more ready to share information, susceptible to online scams, and easily manipulated.
There is an entire type of content which kids are not supposed to come across. It includes web resources which contain pornography, violence, and information on drugs, or may provoke a child to inflict harm on him/herself or commit suicide. Such resources might easily be just in a couple of clicks, and pop up as a result of absolutely innocent online search like “little pussy” or “baby doll” or something which might be interesting for our children.
Besides, kids might be influenced by banner adverts found on pages they regularly visit. You might be surprised to know that scammers use children’s simplicity and directness when placing their ads on the web pages. It frequently happens that children have access to their parents’ credit cards, which puts parents themselves at risk. Also, there is another problem: culprits may trade counterfeit products which are of significant interest for kids, like PC games, books, movies, or in-app purchases.
I have nothing to hide
Parents might be more experienced but at times are much less tech-savvy. Children, on the opposite, are more proficient in technologies but are more careless and have no idea about the threats they might come across.
This is a completely new aspect of online security. Our children are growing in the culture which presupposes sharing any data. Without a second thought, they would post information on who they are, where they are right now, what they buy and who they make friends with, all of it accompanied by images. While such information, if put on old-school post-it notes on the fridge or on a blackboard in the classroom, is visible exclusively to family or friends, when posted online, it becomes available to the entire world. Personal information might be used by a culprit in order to gain trust and then lure your child into meeting ‘offline’. Some shared photos might be used by peers for bullying. Some content which accidently leaked online might impact studies, even career. Here both adults and children lack experience which would help to avoid negative impact of ‘oversharing’.
The tech gap between the generations
Unfortunately, we have to live with the fact that there is a huge gap between the two generations in terms of understanding and using technologies. Parents are, in general, more experienced and possess more common sense, yet sometimes are completely helpless when using tech. Frequently, they have no idea what current technologies are capable of. Children, on the contrary, are more tech-savvy but at the same time are careless and do not envision how many threat online life might bring.
Observer and Teacher
Children must know what’s good and bad online, just as they must know rules of the road and the importance of staying close to their parents.
A parent has an important role of a Teacher, so parents should get involved into their kids’ online activity from an early age. Of course, the way of how this control is exercised by a parent should vary, depending on the kid’s age and character. We cannot expect a little child to know all the peculiarities of online threats. But children must know what’s good and bad online, just as they must know rules of the road.
It’s of vital importance that you explain, in a simple language yet in detail, the necessity of using security software which is able to protect against a malicious code, secure personal data, etc. As your child grows, such explanations should become more detailed and frequent. The sooner you start talking about online security with your child, the less cumbersome and unnecessary such conversations would seem to him/her in the future.
Here is our list of recommendation to ensure your child is safe online:
- Talk to your kid about potential threats of online life.
- Get involved into your child’s online life from an early age, so s/he accept this and gets used to you, their Teacher and Mentor, being around.
- Engage into conversations about their online lives, so they feel comfortable telling you if they feel confused or sense danger.
- The “Oversharing” phenomenon is quite common today. Children might not fully understand the threat in sharing everything online, so it’s crucial you talk to them about the dangers of oversharing in a friendly and comprehensible manner.
- Establish a straightforward code of conduct for online activities. Always explain honestly why you do that. This code should be revisited for necessary changes as your child grows.
- Use Parental Control to set sensible restrictions in terms of the duration of presence online, available content, and some activities (for instance, you might block chats and forums). Parental controls can be set separately for differently aged children with help of different user profiles.
- Teach your children caution with regards to their personal life and sharing it on social networks. Urge them to apply settings which would keep their private information visible only to close friends and family.
- Welcome exchange of experiences: you might be more aware of online threats but your kids might be more tech-savvy. Share this information and learn from each other.
- Protect your PC with ‘Internet Security’ class solutions.
- Don’t underestimate smartphones: they are quite sophisticated computers and not just telephones. Enable means of protection to help keep your child’s smartphone at bay, including content filtering, alerts of a location change, etc. Such capabilities are available in Kaspersky Safe Kids.