In the present satellite generation, the children are growing up in a very different environment than the one we grew up in. Kids of today are slaves of digital media. They have been to every corner of the world via the internet even before they had gone to middle school. Today, the Internet has become synonymous to communicate, planning, learning, studying, entertaining and even playing. There is no doubt about the internet’s capability to improve the life of the younger generation, but every good thing has a negative side to it too. To save the young ones from these risks and in some cases a future full of embarrassment, measures is needed to ensure a child’s digital security. The most common categories of digital risks encompass ‘what is present online or the contents of the internet’, ‘who is online or other persons who are using the internet’ and ‘what a child puts online or rather information and data that are shared by a child’.
For protecting kids from viewing the inappropriate contents that are present on the World Wide Web, there are measures one as a parent can take. But this sure doesn’t rule out the possibility of accidentally stumbling upon inappropriate content. The following measures if adopted can surely reduce the possibility and protect the child from growing up too early.
1) Making best use of parental control features
These days all electronic gadgets come with features that help a parent keep track of the browsing history of the child. Apart from that, various software like NetNanny, allows parents to impose further restrictions on the contents and websites they deem inappropriate.
2) Keeping a close eye on what they are seeing
One can keep the family computer that the child uses in the centre of the room so that any inappropriate content he or she stumbles upon doesn’t go unnoticed by you. If a child has a personal computer in his or her room, the computer could be set up in such a manner that the screen faces the door so that in passing by one can have a proper glance at what the child is viewing.
3) Check browsing history after they have logged off
If a child is using many devices to log in to the internet a parent should keep a tab on their browsing history in all the devices and if they see some sites their children should not be frequenting then they should sit down and talk to their children about what bad could come out of using that site, the legal consequences as well as a breach of their privacy.
4) Use firewalls and block downloads
Various kids have a habit of downloading content off the internet like various games and animated toolbar but sometimes these downloads expose the device on which they are downloading, to malwares and spywares. For younger children simply a separate user account with less accessibility and a proper strong firewall is enough. Children that young won’t be familiar with changing the hardware settings or reconfigure the firewall settings.
These days, kids have a separate life online. Their friends don’t come home to play anymore. They keep contact, chat, and talk and play online. Real –time chats, social networking and instant messaging help them stay in touch with each other virtually. But apart from their friends, many other people are also online who might have malicious intentions and cause a breach of privacy. To help a child protect himself from cyber-bullies and cyber criminals, parents should tell their children about the various types of people with bad intentions.
1) Cyber criminals
Children are known to trust easily. This could lead them to trouble as there are cyber criminals lurking everywhere, ready to spread viruses and Trojan horses every opportunity they get. So to avoid your kids becoming victims of those people one could follow these few simple tricks:
Tell them about the various types of cyber crimes that are there and the methods they usually follow.
- Teach children what spams are and what they are capable of. Tell them why they should avoid opening mails from any unknown person or with some suspicious content.
- Using some antivirus or anti-spyware software and securing the home network with a strong password and strong security settings.
- Help children secure their social networking accounts using a very strong password and tell them why they should not reveal this password to anyone apart from their parents.
2) Cyber bullies
Cyber-bullies are people who harass people online. One in every three people below the age of nineteen has once in their life been a victim of cyber bullying. To prevent children from becoming victims of cyber bullying
- Report the cyber bullying to the website or if it gets too severe, to the police. Some networking sites like Facebook have options to mark content as spams and inappropriate. But first and foremost the children should be taught to come to their parents first in case of any such incident.
- Ask them to keep screenshots of all their chats and copy of all their messages
- Teach them, which messages and mails to respond to and which mails to ignore
- Kids should be advised to never share password and never save passwords in any public devices. They should make it a habit of logging off as soon as they finish their work. Also, they should be taught the importance of changing passwords at a regular interval.
- Last but not the least they should also be taught never to be the one who bullies because what we often forget is that the person who does the bullying is also someone’s child. So if everyone teaches their children about the impacts of cyber bullying, it can actually be possible to stop it.
Kids these days have a habit of sharing every single detail about their life online. One can get a clear picture about their life from looking at their Facebook page. So, kids must be taught what to put online and what not to put. With every single post, a child is sharing another chapter of his life with some or the other stranger. Kids should be taught the importance of the ‘View As’ button and use it from time to time to keep a tab on what is visible to other people, thus protecting their privacy.