As much as adults are susceptible to online risks, kids are also more vulnerable to internet threats and more risks than before. This is because of the readily available internet and devices such as smartphones. The internet and said devices are not only more useful, i.e., in learning, but they also pose more dangers as kids are exposed to online risks at early stages where they don’t know what to do. Taking the devices away is not an option at this era. A more viable solution such as a guide to online privacy and safety is necessary. This article will focus on areas that parents should address to ensure their kids are safe when using the internet.
As a parent, raising awareness about internet threats and risks is the first approach you should take. You should tell your kids about the various dangers that lurk in the cyberspace. It also vital that you educate them on how to combat the threats and ways to avoid/mitigate the risks when they come across one. In a nutshell, explaining to your kids the basics of cybersecurity in a manner that they can understand. You should also set an example as most kids tend to follow what their parents do. Also, encourage your kids to read about cybersecurity news but after going through the content yourself. Below are the next steps to follow after raising awareness.
1. Setting Up their Devices’ Security and Privacy
As mentioned earlier, kids nowadays have access to smartphones maybe it’s your old phone or a gift they received, or you bought one for them to stop bothering you when you are using your computer. Before any further ado, you should ensure that the smartphone is kid friendly. That’s, some services are restricted while others are allowed. The best way to set up a smartphone to be kid friendly is by using parental controls or creating an account which is kid friendly. Check out how parental controls are used on different platforms such as Android and Apple.
2. Guide them on Social Media and Messaging Matters
If you have allowed your kid to use the internet, then you should teach them how to use social media without being at risk. This stage requires you to mention a few things on how important is one’s privacy regarding what they share on the internet. You should also set the necessary privacy levels in various platforms that you have allowed your kids to sign up. Such as in real life, tell them not to accept stranger requests, and they should report to you in case they are not sure about what to do. After setting up everything, you should also be able to monitor your kid’s online activity from a distance.
3. Creating passwords
Soon enough, your kids will have multiple accounts online be it social media or learning accounts. You should teach them how to keep their accounts secure, and this starts by using strong passwords which are kid-friendly. These passwords should be at least 8 characters long and should contain numbers, upper case, and lower-case letters and special characters. The passwords should never include anything personal, even names of pets and relatives. They should also be easier to memorize unless you teach them about password managers too.
4. Explain the Dangers of Public Wi-Fi
Everybody likes free things, but with kids, the urge is irresistible. You might have restricted your internet at home but not public Wi-Fi. Free public Wi-Fi hotspots such as in cafes or malls are the perfect spots for kids to hang out and do their various online activities. You should warn and teach your kids about various dangers that come with public Wi-Fi such as spoofing, identity theft, and even malware. To surely protect your kid from the dangers of public Wi-Fi and the internet in general, get them a VPN as VPNs encrypt internet traffic and ensure security and privacy.