Are You Doing Everything You Can to Ensure Your Children’s Safety?
When we talk about the safety of children, we’re not only talking about teaching them how to properly cross the street, or avoid talking to strangers, or telling them not to play with fire and sharp objects, or making sure they’re buckled up during a journey. The safety of children doesn’t just involve physical safety, but online safety as well.
The moment children log on to their computers, it opens up a world to them that you may not have control over. Sure, the Internet is a great source of knowledge and allows you to communicate with friends and loved ones, but are you taking steps to make sure your children are not exposed to inappropriate content, cyber bullying, scams, and online predators? There are many other online threats that children are exposed to every single day. It’s best to know what these are and what you can do to ensure that your children are safe at all times.
Top threats to online safety
One of the top threats to children’s safety online are online predators, usually paedophiles posing as children. Unsuspecting kids put themselves at great risk if they give out personal details to their new “friends” or “chat buddies”. Paedophiles can also trick children into taking photos of themselves using webcams. Another safety threat are explicit websites full of images that are not appropriate for children. Scams, spam, malware, and phishing software also pose a threat not only to children but computers as well, because these are usually disguised as genuine programs or emails yet are capable of dumping viruses, Trojan programs, and using keyloggers to gain access to sensitive information stored in your computer.
How to protect your children
One of the ways to keep your children safe online is by first talking to them about the threats and encourage responsible computer use. Talk to them in a way that does not scare them—let them know that they have the power to protect themselves from being tricked. Some of the tips you can give them are as follows:
- Never give out personal information to people they meet online, and keep their passwords a secret, even to their best friends.
- Get out of a chat room if the conversation becomes awkward, or uncomfortable.
- Be aware that the people they meet online may not be who or what they seem.
- Never open email attachments that come from companies or people they do not know, especially of the sender appears to be in dire need of money.
- Never go out and meet someone they have met online, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Inform the parent or guardian right away if they receive threatening messages.
Another safety measure that parents can do is to install parental control and their children can access monitoring software in their computers, so that they can indicate which sites. There are many kinds of computer programs that are capable of keeping track of users’ online activity, from recording chat room conversations to keeping a log of all websites visited. These software are easy to install and can run invisibly.
With proper knowledge and understanding of how the online world works, parental supervision, and monitoring software, you can teach your children to be responsible citizens and ensure their safety on the Internet.