Online exploitation is nothing new. Cyberbullies are always crafting new ways to launch attacks on unsuspecting victims. That said, we cannot exempt anybody from internet use.
How then do we protect our children from the dangers thriving in this digital world?
There’s an increase in children’s Internet usage
Kids, just like adults, have been spending long hours on the internet. This, as they are in search of study resources, entertainment, socializing, you name it.
Unfortunately, this expansion translates to wider exposure to inappropriate content and cyber predators.
To help you meet your primary obligation to your children, which is protecting them, we have compiled 5 tips for you to help your children stay safe online.
● Use parental controls
Enabling this feature allows you to block certain applications or access to certain websites on your child’s device. Start by blocking or limiting access for applications or software that can be used to access inappropriate content.
You can also set up restrictions on applications designed for children such as YouTube kids.
● Install a VPN on their devices
Consider downloading a VPN for security on your children’s devices. This is an effective way to keep spies off your child’s internet traffic. This tool is handy for shared networks such as their school or the shopping malls.
A VPN creates a secure tunnel through which all traffic, sent or received through a secured network, is channeled.
● Help them set stronger passwords
A strong password is hard to crack. Teach your children the essentials of a complex password such as length and character combinations.
Give them examples of easy to guess passwords and why they should never use them on any online platform.
● Walk them through social media privacy
Disclosing sensitive information on social media platforms leaves a strong data trail behind. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to give in to the pressure.
Teach your child about restricting the content or information they disclose on these platforms. For instance, they should not engage with strangers or share photos without your approval.
● Teach them about protecting online finances
As banking and e-commerce platforms continue to gain popularity, it’s only prudent that you teach your child some essential money habits.
Sooner or later they will be transacting on these platforms. It is important that they understand the basics of securing their accounts with strong passwords, running up-to-date security software and making smart decisions regarding the platforms they sign up to.
Bottom-line: encourage your children to talk to you
Though it is a resourceful tool, the internet is also full of misinformation and inappropriate content. Much as you may want to be there whenever your child is accessing the internet, your work schedule or other responsibilities may not allow it.
Things can be easier if in addition to the tips discussed above you create a cordial relationship with your child and encourage them to talk to you about their online activities.
Gear towards building confidence in them, so that they feel comfortable discussing anything they are not sure about with you. This way, you will be able to keep track of their online progress and make adjustments where necessary.