Being a parent has always been hard, but never more so than in the 21st Century. This is the time when children as young as two-years-old have access to digital devices like smartphones and tablets, and 11-year-olds actually own smartphones. They are exposed to all the joys that modern technology brings and yet at the same time they’re extremely vulnerable to attacks by people with nefarious motives. And the biggest problem is that most of the young people don’t even realize these dangers.
What Kind of Dangers are there?
Children these days can be targeted in various ways. Some of the most common threats are:
- Online predators who target young children, develop friendships with them through fake accounts and then gain their trust in order to have them do certain things like sharing revealing photos or even worse.
- Cyberbullying, that has become more and more common in the past few years. Bullies can get in touch with your children through social media and post hurtful comments on their accounts.
- Phone addiction is a real threat that has become all too serious. Children are found constantly glued to their phones all day which is not only mentally harmful but also physically unhealthy.
What Can You Do?
So if you’re a parent and are worried about the safety of your children in this age of cybercrimes, here are some suggestions that may help you keep them safe:
Talk To Them
The first step to helping your children be safe is to openly talk to them about all the dangers they may be exposed to when browsing websites or using their favorite social media applications. Explain to them why they should keep certain boundaries like not sharing revealing photos or videos with people even through apps like Snapchat where their content is deleted after a day. Tell them that people who want to inflict harm or blackmail them will find ways to store such content and later use them against them. Once your children understand the risks, they will use such apps more carefully.
Mobile Security Tips
Due to the high reliance on social media apps these days, teaching your children about mobile phone safety is very important.
- Teach your children about Catphishing which is when a stranger with bad intentions gets in touch with your children through a fake account and then develops a relationship with them to later blackmail them.
- Ask your children to only install applications from official app stores and not from various other websites that may be distributing applications with malware in them.
- Young children should use messaging and social media apps under the guidance of their parents or older siblings. In order to ensure this, you may use tracking applications such as Spyzie so that you are always aware of who your children are interacting with. This can also help you identify acts of cyberbullying, which is something children don’t always openly talk to their parents about.
- Make sure that your children use the best possible type of locking mechanism on their phones. Fingerprints are the safest form of phone locks available these days. If they don’t have a fingerprint reader on their phone, then ensure that they use a strong password to unlock their devices.
- Many modern smartphones come with the option of encrypting the data every time you turn off the phone and then decrypting it only if the right password is typed in. This can be a good way to ensure that no one can get access to your child’s data if they get their hands on your child’s phone.
- Your children should also know to keep their phones updated whenever a security patch update comes through. These patches are meant to keep phones safe from cyber-attacks and can be crucial in your child’s safety.
Control Their Screen-Time
Make sure that your children know the value of spending actual time with actual people rather than living in a virtual world. Put curfews on cellphone usage and encourage your children to spend some quality time either with yourself or with their friends. The less children rely on their smartphones all day, the less will be the number of threats they are faced with. They will be happier, healthier, and much safer this way as opposed to having unlimited access to digital devices.
So, now you know what you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s safety in this age of the internet. As stated before, the best thing you can do is actually talk to your children and explain to them why and how they need to be safe when using their favorite social media applications. Once you have a heartfelt and educational conversation with your children, they will be much more open to your suggestions and will try to be safe themselves without needing much of your help at all.