Stepping into a primary school today is a stark reminder of how much the world has changed in just a couple of decades. Gone are the days when the main concerns revolved around scraped knees and playground disputes. In today’s digital era, nearly every child possesses a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, exposing them to risks that their parents would have never had to face at a young age. As technology continues to advance at an astonishing pace, it becomes increasingly crucial for us to understand the worrying landscape our children navigate online. With this understanding, we can equip ourselves to educate and safeguard the next generation.
The main dangers children face online include:
- Encountering predatory behaviour and catfishing
- Bullying and harassment
- Spam, scams, and cyber security threats
These dangers can be found in:
- Direct messages on any platform
- Comment sections
- Private chats in video games
- Text messages
- Foreign emails
Bullying is a big issue, that has been made worse by the rise of the internet. It has moved from its traditional location of the schoolyard at lunchtime, to online. This means that bulling can happen anywhere and at any time. Unlike when you and I were in primary school, the bullying does not stop when the bell rings. Due to the ‘always on’ nature of the internet if your child is victim to cyber bullying it can often feel unescapable. Talking to check in on your kids regularly is important in ensuring they are happy and healthy.
In the fast-paced online world, it can be difficult to know where to focus in order to keep our kids safe. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 things you can do to protect your children online. By following these simple steps, you’ll have the tools and knowledge to ensure your kids stay safe in the digital realm.
- Private Accounts:
To protect your children’s online privacy, it is essential to ensure that their Instagram and Facebook accounts are set to private instead of public. This setting will allow your child to have full control over who can access and view their account and online activity. Take the time to educate your child about the importance of only allowing people they personally know to follow their accounts. Emphasize the rule of never responding to messages unless they are absolutely certain who the sender is. Furthermore, make sure your child understands the significance of not sharing personal information in their account descriptions, such as their birthday, address, phone number, or school.
- Unfriend, Block, Report:
Teach your child how to unfriend or block accounts if they encounter individuals they don’t know, experience harassment, or face bullying. It is crucial to empower them with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves in such situations. Encourage your child to bring any suspicious or alarming accounts and messages to your attention. When necessary, take action by blocking and reporting such accounts.
- Digital Footprint:
Understanding the concept of a digital footprint is important for both you and your children. Explain to them that once something is posted on social media, it remains there indefinitely, even if you think you’ve deleted it. Platforms save copies of posts, and anyone who sees them can take screenshots and use them however they please. Emphasize that once the send, post, or share button is pushed, the content is no longer within their control, and there will always be a copy of it somewhere on the internet.
Monitoring your children’s online activity is a proactive way to stay aware of their online experiences. By following their accounts on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok, you can gain insight into the type of content they are sharing from a viewer’s perspective. This also enables you to identify and address any inappropriate comments or potential instances of bullying, providing you with an opportunity to talk to and support your child.
- Install Spam Email Blockers:
Email fraud is very common, with cybercriminals impersonating trusted individuals using phishing scams and embedding malware in these fake emails. To safeguard against malware and phishing attacks, consider installing email spam blockers for both you and your children. These tools help prevent you from falling victim to harmful online threats by filtering out suspicious content from outside sources. For more information on email spam blockers Click Here If you are ever unsure of an email it is important never to click any links or attachments in the email and do not reply to it.
By implementing these strategies, you can actively contribute to creating a safer online environment for your children, allowing them to navigate the digital world with increased awareness and protection.
For more information about how to keep your family safe online visit the IP Partners website https://www.ippartners.com.au/ or call (08) 7200 6080 to speak to a professional.
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