Due to quarantine caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 1.5 billion children and teenagers around the world are out of school. So, many families are relying on technology and digital platforms to keep children studying, meaning record numbers of students are spending more time on their computers as well as smartphones. In this situation parents must let children use mobile phones for education. But they can consider using phone monitoring software to keep the children safe from cyber bullying and other kinds of harm.
In light of this, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns of the importance of surfing the internet safely, since extended time on digital devices can expose children to the risk of bullying, violent content, and other threats.
Therefore, parents and guardians must take some safety measures when letting children browse the internet, such as:
– Ensure that devices have the latest software updates and antivirus programs
– It is essential to maintain an open dialogue with the little ones about who they are communicating with over the internet
– Frequently monitor what activities children are doing on a computer to ensure that only what is appropriate is absorbed
– With online classes, it is important that parents and guardians have access to school policies and reporting to the relevant authorities and helplines if necessary.
Apart from these basic measures, some more tips can be used so that children spend time on the internet with adequate security. Therefore, we have listed several points that you can follow to keep your offspring safe during surfing the internet.
Basic safety tips for children while surfing the internet:
1. Beware of shared information:
With fake news circulating wildly on the internet, this is one of the most important tips for anyone – whether children, young people, adults, or elderly people. It is essential to check sources and information before sharing. Teach your kids to take everything critically and do some research when they see new information. Teach them not to believe opinions blindly but to look at issues from different points of view.
Also, when it comes to personal data, children should be careful too, as malicious users can infiltrate the systems and gain access to personal photos, location, and more.
Therefore, kids must be aware that their private data must be kept confidential, and they should always think twice before posting something personal.
2. Determine internet access times:
Internet access time contributes not only to children’s safety but also to their self-discipline. It is essential to establish a schedule for using a computer, preferably at a time when an adult will be present to accompany the navigation.
It’s important to impose limits. This prevents kids from spending all day in front of the computer and teaches them to set priorities.
3. Keep digital devices in common environments:
This tip will facilitate the monitoring of activities being carried out by children on the internet. Having easy access to the computer that your kids are using allows you to know what type of content is being consumed and with whom the little ones are interacting.
To ensure adequate security at this stage, it is important to avoid leaving devices with internet access in bedrooms or places that allow the child to isolate themselves.
4. Encourage kids to talk to you about what they do:
You should always encourage your children to talk to you about what they do and what they learn on the internet. Especially if there is anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
Today, the “share it all” culture is widespread. Children are not always able to recognize the dangers they run into when sharing a lot of personal information, so it is very important to explain in detail everything that can occur as a result.
Set ground rules about what you can and cannot do online and explain the reasons for each. You should review these rules over time as your children grow up. Keep the dialogue open and encourage them to talk to you about anything that bothers them.
5. Talk to kids about internet safety:
Protecting children does not mean prohibiting internet access, quite the contrary, it is important to talk to them about safe browsing, encouraging and promoting the conscientious use of digital devices, both in terms of websites and applications and online behavior.
Digital security is about expanding the vision of the little ones and their awareness about how to act ethically and responsibly in virtual environments.
6. How to deal with online friends:
Do not talk to strangers: do not chat, or add people you do not know, even if their profile picture is that of a child. Having a lot of friends may sound appealing but you never know who actually stands behind that profile. Nowadays, a lot of cybercriminals use children to get access to some personal details and, subsequently, commit identity theft-related crimes.
Do not accept gifts from anyone: do not accept invitations from people you do not know, especially if they offer you something in return.
Adopt a habit of checking the identity of new online friends. Use Nuwber for that: search for the person’s name and analyze the information that comes. Nowadays, it’s extremely easy to create fake accounts so can never be too careful.
Do not send compromising photos and videos to anyone, or upload photos that may be embarrassing for other people. One day, they can be accessed illegally or through a data breach and used against you.
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