The main threats for children and teenagers on the Internet
In order not to go to extremes and not to be afraid of any actions of your child on the Internet, read about the main threats. Pay attention to the main signs and take decisive action if necessary.
This is probably the biggest danger that can be waiting for a child online. Strangers often try to get to know children in social networks, games and messengers. Their goals may be different – to learn more about the parents’ finances, to drag them into unwanted companies or experiments. For example, at one time there was a sensational story of the group “The Blue Whale,” where children played a scary game at the end of which it was necessary to decide to commit suicide.
Loss of money
Taking the card of his dad or mom, the child can buy in a virtual game, a lot of interesting and necessary things – virtual clothes, weapons and accessories. The games do not control the age of the participant, there is no need to confirm that you are a cardholder, so it is very easy to spend money. In some cases, the amounts spent by gamers on virtual items amount to thousands of dollars.
In addition, a child can unknowingly infect your parents’ home computer or smartphone with malware. Through the game, your computer can pick up a virus, with its help, crooks can see all the information on your computer and even gain access to bank accounts.
The World Health Organization is planning to add Internet addiction to the list of mental disorders. It can be as dangerous as alcoholism or drug addiction. The situation sometimes gets so out of control that victims of such addiction have to be treated in specialized institutions.
The Internet is full of all kinds of content, including pornography, scenes of violence, descriptions of drugs. Some types of content have a very strong negative impact even on adults with stable psyche, not to mention children. Because of undesirable content a child can be psychologically traumatized. And without specialized programs it is impossible to control what a child will see on the Internet.
What to do to protect your child from danger on the Internet
We tell you what to do to protect your child.
Talk to your child
Tell your child about the most dangerous situations that can happen online, and how to handle them. You can even make rules about what to do online.
Show your child that you are always ready to hear him or her out on any issues. Tell him that communicating online with a stranger is just as dangerous as it is in real life. In addition, be sure to ask children to talk about unusual “friends” from social networks and about strangers who try to contact the child. Never pressure or threaten to take away the phone if he or she is not in the mood for frank conversations. Raise these issues only when your child is ready to listen to you.
One of the most effective and easiest ways to keep children safe online is to install antivirus. In this case, a child will not be able to go to most malicious sites, which will help avoid infecting the computer or smartphone. But children should also know the basics of information security to be aware of threats.
Teach your child information literacy
Your child should be explained that you do not need to download everything from the Internet, and especially to open the downloaded files without checking the antivirus. It is important to tell them that they should not leave any personal information on the Internet, either for themselves or for their family. This includes your address, vacation information, income stories, and more. Here is a sample memo:
- Never agree to meet people you’ve met online without adult supervision.
- Don’t go to unfamiliar sites. Especially be careful if your browser does not have a lock icon that confirms security.
- Do not open unfamiliar attachments on sites or in the mail.
- Use complex passwords, and don’t use personal data in logins.
- Don’t tell strangers or new acquaintances personal information.
Use parental control tools
We’re talking about setting a password or completely blocking resources with content that can harm children. These are easy to install on your computer, tablet or phone. Modern specialized software also helps track how much time a child spends online. If he exceeded the limit set by the parents or tried to access a blocked resource – they get a special notification.
Limit the time you use your devices
Children are unable to control the time they spend with gadgets. The task of parents is to limit the time that children spend on the Internet. Otherwise, the child may develop an Internet addiction with all the ensuing – the inability to communicate with people, the lack of physical exercise and health problems, emotional stress. You can limit the time on the Web with the help of special programs, as well as with personal monitoring.
For example, Apple has added the “Screen Time” function to its devices, it also allows you to limit the time you use certain applications. The option can be found in Settings → Screen time → App limits.
Pay attention to this:
- Your child carefully hides his or her online communication and gets angry if you ask him or her about it.
- The child is spending too much time online.
- Money has started to disappear from your card.
- The child prefers to spend time with virtual friends rather than with real ones.
You can use special programs to monitor the sites your child visits and the time he or she spends online. Do not forget to tell your child about the basic dangers of the Internet, try to become a friend to him in these matters. In particularly severe cases, you may need the help of a psychologist. But most importantly, trust your child and explore online safety together.