Digital devices are a staple of modern life, but they can also pose a danger to children if unregulated. Some experts say that the constant use of digital devices harms children’s development by depriving them of face-to-face interactions. This concern is especially valid for social media and the near-constant subsocial interaction children have online versus in real life. Not only is a lack of face-to-face interaction a problem, but many parents don’t realize that their children are also engaging with technology online through various websites and apps. Third-party platforms are more likely to expose children to cyberbullying and other online risks than older age groups. Learn more about why children need to be educated about the importance of online safety and find out ten tips you can share with your kids.
Why Is Internet Safety Important
Children and adults increasingly use the Internet for education, entertainment, job applications, and other basic needs. The Internet provides a wide-open forum for people to communicate and collaborate. It can be a valuable resource for connecting with friends and family, learning new information, and conducting business. However, it can also spread harmful content, including propaganda and child pornography. The Internet is also where predators can find young victims.
Protecting your children’s online safety is essential to keep them safe from harm. Teaching the specifics of internet safety to kids is critical for many reasons. Not least of which, it can help kids learn how to interact responsibly online, protect them from cyberbullying, and keep them from accessing inappropriate material.
What Your Children Might Be Doing Online
Many parents are unsure of what their children are doing online and don’t know how to prevent them from accessing inappropriate content. While there are several ways to keep your children safe online, it is critical to be proactive and set up safeguards and talk to them about these issues as early as possible.
Cyberbullying has been linked to suicide attempts and depression in young people. Whether your child is the victim or the perpetrator of a cyberbullying campaign, they must disengage from harm as soon as possible. Cyberbullying takes many different forms, such as posting mean messages on social media, sending hateful emails, or even making hurtful phone calls.
While it may be impossible to quantify the exact full extent of the problem, it’s clear that children see a lot of inappropriate and harmful content online. This trend is worrisome because, as children become more internet-savvy, they are more likely to find and view inappropriate materials online.
There are also child predators online, and they use the Internet to find children that they can exploit. They will often communicate with children through social media and then take advantage of them or make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Parents must be cautious about who they allow access to their children and teach online safety for kids.
Propaganda online is a bad thing for children. Children exposed to propaganda online are more likely to endorse prejudice and support violence. In addition, they are more likely to have negative views of other groups of people. These unfounded beliefs are established because propaganda uses deception and manipulation to get the child to believe what they see. It can be challenging to know which information is accurate while still developing.
Internet addiction and scrolling addiction are growing concerns among kids and adults.
Internet addiction is defined as a problematic pattern of behavior involving excessive online use that results in negative consequences, such as job instability, relationship breakdowns, or financial troubles. The behaviors involve increasingly long periods spent on screens and are potentially harmful to children’s development.
Scrolling addiction is a type of internet addiction characterized by continued scrolling down web pages or screens even when there is no longer anything worth looking at.
Tools for Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
With the number of online options available, it can still be hard to keep your kids safe while using the Internet. Try using parental controls to restrict what your kids can see and do online, use filters to keep inappropriate content out of their browsers, and set up firewalls to protect them from malicious websites.
Additional Internet Safety Resources for Parents
Parents need to know that, ironically, online safety resources can help protect their children. Internet safety for children resources can also include websites, apps, and books. Parents should be familiar with using these tools and what to watch for when their children are online.
The U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance
ConnectSafely Parent Guide
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)
The Federal Trade Commission
Center for Cyber Safety and Education
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
D.A.R.E. Parent & Educator Resources
Savvy Cyber Kids for Families
10 Tips for Internet Safety To Share With Your Kids
As technology continues to grow, so too does the need for kids to be good digital citizens. They need to know how to use technology safely and responsibly, but they also need to be aware of privacy issues. By following some simple tips, it’s easy to become a responsible digital citizen with cyber safety for kids.
1.) What does ‘the internet is forever’ mean?
2.) Keep your passwords secret and safe.
3.) Don’t share personal information.
4.) Watch out for scams and other dishonest information.
5.) Cyberbullying hurts as much as physical violence.
6.) Social media can be fun but know the risks.
7.) Always think and then think again before you post.
8.) Use privacy settings to keep the computer safe.
9.) Never agree to meet anyone online.
10.) Why parental controls and moderation are essential.
Parents must be aware of the dangers of the Internet and take steps to ensure their children’s safety while online. Many helpful tips can be implemented, such as using parental controls and monitoring programs, creating strong passwords, and teaching kids about good online behavior. By following a few simple guidelines, parents can help keep their children safe and informed while exploring the Internet.