Today’s digital world demands education on what your children should do and not do online. Parents are the ones that should be involved in teaching, educating, controlling, and monitoring their kids’ online activities. Shortly, children should not do the following things online:
- Watch inappropriate content;
- Share personal information;
- Bully others;
By avoiding these things children can also dodge the dangers of the online world, like cyberbullies, online predators, scammers, and such.
Being a modern responsible parent means raising digitally responsible kids, so in the following paragraphs, we’ll go more into detail about which things your children should not do online.
Sharing Personal Information
Our little ones need to be aware of the existing online dangers and risks mentioned above. Set rules regarding sharing personal information such as:
- Name and family members’ names;
- Home and school address;
- Phone numbers;
- Personal pictures or videos;
Parents can prevent their kids from sharing personal information in many ways. Some ways for preventing leakage of personal information include checking privacy settings on your child’s device, monitoring children’s online activity, and constantly reminding your children to keep their info safe.
Posting Inappropriate Content
Our kids need to know that they shouldn’t post inappropriate content online that hurts, harms, humiliates, offends other users, and destroys their mental health. Teach your children not to post content that contains:
- Violence and agression;
- Explicit photos and videos;
- Content that stimulates criminal behavior;
We, parents, need to lead our kids to appropriately behave online, respect others, and build a positive online presence. Make friends, not enemies!
Interacting with Strangers
Kids interacting with strangers online is risky and can end up badly. Strangers might have inappropriate requests, and blackmail children into sending photos or money.
A shocking statistic is that about 14% of all teens have encountered online predators online. There are many ways kids can recognize and avoid dangerous individuals online, such as:
- Trusting their instincts;
- Blocking inappropriate users;
- Not trusting strangers;
Children should note that they should be quick in reacting when feeling threatened by strangers. And also, children must never agree in meeting strangers in real life.
Using Unsecured Websites and Apps
Unsecured websites and apps don’t contain Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol (essentially SSL tells you whether a website is safe and secured). There are many risks in using unsecured websites and apps, such as:
- Personal information can be hacked and used for negative purposes;
- Riks of malicious software installed on our kids’ devices;
- Phishing attacks;
- Identity theft;
But how can a child recognize an unsecured website? Search engines always tell you which websites and apps are unsecured. Also, keeping browsers up-to-date is crucial in protecting yourself against unsecured websites and apps.
Downloading Unsafe Content
Kids need to be aware of the risks of downloading unsafe content. Downloading unsafe content can install malware and other harmful programs on your device that attack and take over its operative system. Kids can check whether some app is safe to download themselves! They can do this by:
- Searching for official sources;
- Installing apps from official stores;
- Using anti-virus scanners;
- Checking online reviews;
- Paying attention to the permissions the apps needs;
All things considered, downloading content from trusty and secure sources is the best way to go when your children want to download something.
Ignoring Online Privacy Settings
Children must understand the importance of online privacy settings because these privacy settings can help protect children online.
Teach your children to adjust privacy settings on social media and other websites, according to their preferences, by:
- Reviewing current privacy settings in Settings;
- Selecting who can message you;
- Restricting access to third-party apps;
- Checking location-sharing settings;
Our little ones need to consider the fact that ignoring privacy settings can lead to hacker attacks, identity theft, cyberbullying, and scammer attacks.
Clicking on Suspicious Links
Clicking suspicious or unverified links like fake texts and ads can endanger children’s online experience. But don’t worry, suspicious links can be easily recognized if you keep in mind the following things:
- The e-mail address and domain don’t match;
- Unfamiliar greetings;
- Gramatic errors;
- Unusual content of the message;
- Awards for giveaways you didn’t take part in;
Kids must adopt the habit of avoiding clicking on unfamiliar links to protect themselves from downloading malicious software.
Using Weak Passwords
Children mustn’t use weak passwords because that increases the chance of hacker attacks. But strong passwords can keep any profile safe and secure.
Creating passwords is a hard but sometimes fun activity. At least you can make it fun by turning it into a game.
Gather the family around and tell everyone to think of a hard password. Then every family member gives a hint about his/her password while the others try to guess it.
Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
Using public Wi-Fi networks increases the chance of hacker and malware attacks. You can easily check whether a Wi-Fi network is safe.
Open Wi-Fi Settings and click the network you’re currently using. Then tap Properties and look for Security Type. If WEP or WPA2 stands next to Security Type, then that Wi-Fi connection is secure.
Also, using a VPN can protect you while using public Wi-Fi networks because it hides your IP address.
Falling for Scams and Hoaxes
Have you ever received a message that you’ve just won a million dollars? Well, that message is most likely a scam and a hoax. You can easily avoid scams because often they are low quality and don’t make any sense.
Before opening any links or sending credit card information to anyone, verify whether the sender is official. Scammers are really dangerous because they can steal your money and personal information.
Accessing Inappropriate Content
Studies show that 54% of children under the age of 13 have been exposed to inappropriate content.
Inappropriate content is dangerous because it can encourage children to copy the content, which ultimately results in negative behavioral changes.
You must talk to your children about the dangers of inappropriate content, and use parental control software the check whether your child is exposed to this type of content.
Encouraging Dangerous Stunts and Challenges
Similar to inappropriate content, content that encourages dangerous stunts and challenges can even be fatal for children that try to imitate it.
The best way to battle this content is by setting yourself as a positive example for your children. Communicate and discuss why that type of content is dangerous and should be avoided.
Engaging in Cybercrime
Cybercrime is any crime linked to a digital device. And the maximum penalties for such crimes are up to three years in jail and over 30,000$ in fines.
Just as you teach your children that burglary and murder aren’t good, teach them that engaging in cybercrime is also not good. And don’t forget to tell your children to report cybercrime if they witness it online.
Not Reporting Suspicious Activity
To round up this article, we’ll go over the importance of reporting suspicious activity. Tell your children that it is OK to report everything that seems off in their eyes.
The best way to fight against cybercrimes, inappropriate content, and dangerous online users is by reporting them. Only then we can think of a safer online experience for our children.