The internet as a part of one’s childhood is still a new concept. The suddenness and scope of social media have provided children with an abundance of positive opportunities as they develop, as well as the potential for significant damage. However, If a child’s online activities are left unchecked, online threats like bullying, child sexual exploitations, sexual harassment, fraud, and other illegalities flourish.
Of course, the risk comes from how the medium is used, not from the medium itself. Keeping your child completely away from social media is almost impossible, but you can use some safety measures for their betterment in digital life.
Online threats and social media impact your teens and their self-esteem. This helpful guide has been developed to assist you in integrating online child protection into your website or mobile app.
Best 10 Safety Measures To Be Taken To Acknowledge Online Threats For Children:
Parents are often worried about their children’s digital exposure. It is good when your children are gaining useful knowledge from the internet. But what if your children are suffering? Open your eyes and step towards your children’s welfare. Try to know about their activities online and be aware of whom they text, you can check your kid’s text messages online.
To keep your children safe online from threats like cybercriminals, online predators, thugs and to keep your children safe from such negative problems. Here are some tips that might help you be aware and cope with online threats:
1. From a Young Age, Engage In Discussions:
The internet has limitless possibilities. Children can read, study, play games, have fun and interact with family members who might not live nearby beginning at a young age. However, it is critical to use the internet healthily and beneficially to improve their mental health.
That is why it is beneficial to have daily discussions about the internet and social media starting at a young age. It should be as simple as discussing the weather, the dog, or something you saw on TV. You don’t have to interrogate or quiz your child about every website they have visited, but just checking in with them for a few minutes can go a long way.
Try to discuss online threats, predators, and cyberbullying appropriately to be aware and understand your point of view. If your children experience such situations, try to handle the situations rather than blaming, scolding, or threatening them.
2. Set a Good Example:
Tell your child about your encounters with the internet. Please show them your favorite websites and applications and describe why you like them. Show them how to use the internet for the best- to do homework, study, communicate with friends, family, relatives, and learn about the world. This aids in the development of a vital eye.
You may also use the internet to discuss your own less positive experiences. If you feel uncomfortable by other people’s “good” images on social media, talking to your child about it can help. It could make them realize that the ‘perfect’ photos they see on social media are not necessarily representative of reality. Encourage them to communicate to you if they are having trouble.
Know that your children look up to you as their mentor. If you continuously check your phone during mealtimes or family times or play violent video games in front of your children. Your child is expected to do the same. So, set a better example you would prefer your children to follow.
3. Use Parental Control Software:
The best way to let your kids not face any online threats is to use parental control applications on your devices. Fenced.ai, Quostodio, KidsLogger, are some of the parental control apps you can use to monitor your children’s online and offline activities.
Using such apps, you can block inappropriate sites and content from your kids’ browsers. You can also block unnecessary ads, set a timer to use mobile phones, and so on. Not only this, you could control their phone and messages either online or offline. By doing so, kids would enjoy safe internet surfing.
There would not be any harm of online predators and criminals as you block all such contents that disturb your child. Children would stay away from mental pressures and negative vibes. Both the parents and children could enjoy the internet without any objections and restrictions.
4. Set Limits, But Be Practical:
Depending on your child’s age, you should set internet use limits. It is similar to teaching your child to cross the street: when they are young, you will make sure they hold your hand, but when they get older, you want them to evaluate the risks and stay healthy on their own. Kids love playing online games that have risks but at the same time be understanding on that.
It is a good idea to sit down with your kids, regardless of age, and establish some ground rules about how much time they spend online. You may accept, for example, that they should not go online right before bed or use any gadgets at night, as this may interfere with their sleep.
You may also use parental control apps to prevent your child from accessing unsafe materials on the internet; however, your child can find out how to bypass them. That is why it is important to ensure that your child can make sound decisions on his or her own.
5. Assurance That They Can Reach Out To You At Any Time:
According to research, most children are more vigilant online than adults, and they are generally excellent at safely accessing the web. When they do come across disturbing material, it is either by mistake or because someone sent it to them. It is a good idea to tell your children that they can speak to you at any time regarding school and its safety or anything.
Inquire whether they have seen something they do not like on the internet. They may have come across offensive remarks, pornographic content, or violent images. Tell them you won’t be offended if they tell you about what they have seen and that you would like it if they told you rather than keeping it to themselves.
Discuss how they feel and how they can stop seeing them again in the future if they are disappointed or concerned about what they have seen. If required, assist your kids in reporting or blocking material that they find offensive. Whatever happens, keep your cool if you discover anything you do not agree with.
6. Discuss The Importance Of Personal Data:
Help your child realize what personal information means to understand why it is important and why they should be careful about posting photos or information about themselves online. Let your children understand what they put online remains there forever.
Even items deleted, such as Snapchat’s intended only for only one friend, can be saved or screenshotted. Tell children online strangers are strangers. Different forums, group chats can be a great place to communicate about a subject they would not tell face to face, but they should not feel obligated to share more details that they are comfortable with.
Being unaware of consequences, children overshare because they do not know about privacy settings. You can teach your children to make their accounts private through privacy settings available on apps so that only well-known people could see their posts. Ask them not to hesitate to block someone they find offensive and uncomfortable.
7. Explain The Use Of Social Media:
Even though most social media sites are for people aged 13 and over, most kids sign up for at least one when they are much younger. It is preferable if you allow them to be transparent with you rather than making them feel compelled to keep it a secret.
If your kids approve your follow or friend request on one social media account, there is a fair chance they have another one they are not sharing with you. Inform your children that privacy settings are available on any social media sites and teach them how to use them.
Please discuss with your children what details they want to keep private. Ascertain that your child knows how to block or report inappropriate material. Please help your child realize that they do not have to be available on social media all of the time. It is fine to take a break, and they do not have to participate in every discussion.
8. Parents Should Discuss Cyberbullying:
Bullying is never acceptable, whether it occurs at school, at home, or online. If your child is getting threatening messages, or if others are sharing unpleasant details about them, or if they are threatened, they should speak. Make sure your kids are comfortable sharing those issues with you.
Encourage your kids to connect with you. Even if it seems insignificant, talking things over with you on what to do can be extremely beneficial. Ensure they know how to block and notify the people who are harassing them and how to use the privacy settings on their profiles to restrict what anyone can see.
Assist your children in realizing that they are in control of what they share. They should understand the effects of their posts on others, and they should avoid doing something online that they would avoid saying in person. Children could involve not writing hurtful things about people they meet and not bullying celebrities, who are still real people.
9. Take Actions When You See Warning Signs:
You know your child well and will be able to tell whether something is wrong with them or not. If you start to feel worried, it is important to act on the warning signs. You can have an open conversation with your kids. Listen and pay attention to what they have to say.
Do not pass judgments too quickly. If you do so, your child will never express themselves with you. Make sure they know you will be with them no matter what the situation is. Make a suitable environment in-home so that your kids would openly say what they are going through and what they feel.
Do not scold, threaten or hit your children. Such behaviors will take them far from you emotionally, and you will never know their situations, and you may regret it later. A child seeks love, attention, and care from their parents which they fully deserve. Try to be their friend but also do not forget your responsibilities and duties as a parent.
10. Inquire About Your Children’s Applications And Websites:
It’s easy to feel as though you don’t grasp your child’s use of the new technologies, applications, or social media. But don’t let that bar you from getting involved. Request that your child teaches and demonstrates their favorite applications, games, or websites to you.
Queries with your children will help you understand how they operate to address the advantages and receive answers to questions you might have. A fast Google search can also reveal a lot of details. Be prepared to clarify why you feel what your child is accessing is inappropriate for their age.
Make a shared decision with your child if possible to understand the reasons for not using anything wrong with apps and commit to it. You can also ask your child to aid you in how to operate their favorite apps like Alexa so that you would know how to deal with their issues better.
As we know, children are not safe online, applying the safety measures discussed above could help overcome the fear. Being innocent and having less knowledge, generally, children are made victims of such online threats. Being parents, it is your duty and responsibility to free your children from such tortures. Act smartly and calmly with your children and their problems.