The Internet makes the globe accessible to everyone, but it also has dark sides that can easily harm your kid. Today's children like using the Internet, but they are unaware of its negative consequences. Children are addicted to the Internet, particularly for entertainment purposes.
Many children believe they know how to stay safe online; yet, there are several reasons children are especially in danger. As a result, Internet safety becomes the main priority for children when they access the Internet.
What is Internet Safety?
In its most basic form, Internet safety refers to the act of being safe while browsing the Internet. Protecting yourself from online dangers is what it means to be safe online.
Through awareness, education, knowledge, and technology, Internet Safety safeguards users from harm caused by surfing the Internet. Being aware of the online dangers you may encounter while engaging in online activity includes internet safety.
Why is Internet Safety Important for Kids?
Internet safety is especially essential for children since they are more vulnerable than adults and are easier to target. According to research issued in February by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, a study of more than 6,000 10-18-year-olds conducted from June to August last year indicated that about half of children had suffered at least one type of cyberbullying in their lifetime. Internet safety for children is crucial to safeguard them from online dangers. Consequently, it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child remains secure while browsing online.
Dangers That Kids May Encounter While Surfing The Internet:
Because online threats aren't restricted to harmful websites, youngsters must be alert whenever they're connected to the Internet. Chat rooms, computer games, and even social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can all be dangerous.
Kids may be interested in what it is about the Internet that makes it so dangerous to them, so make sure they are aware of the online threats. The following are some internet dangers that children should be aware of:
Online Scams :
Phishing is the most common online scam nowadays. Emails or chats are generally used to accomplish this. Phishing can take numerous forms, including phishing emails, link manipulation, false websites, and more. Because kids are easy to target, phishing is commonly used to target them. Phishing was the most common sort of cybercrime in 2020, according to a recent FBI report, with phishing instances nearly doubling in frequency from 114,702 in 2019 to 241,324 in 2020.
Contests, selling free items, lotteries, selling designer clothing at a discount, free music downloads are common online scams. Kids are drawn to such things, and their primary goal is to obtain personal information and steal identities from children.
As kids grow increasingly engaged online at a younger age, the probability of seeing something inappropriate depends entirely on what they're doing online. When children accidentally see inappropriate information, such as an explicit pop-up advert on a free game or movies that feature children's cartoon characters in adult circumstances, they may be disturbed and confused.
Inappropriate content, such as pornographic videos, criminality, terrorism, racism, photos or images depicting violence, and so on, may affect children differently.
Cyberbullying is harassment or bullying over digital devices such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets. Hacking someone's social networking page, sending hurtful messages, being harsh to someone in an online game, and pretending to be someone else to distribute harsh comments online are all examples of bullying that can have a mental impact on children. Make your kids aware of the dangers of cyberbullying because it can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Malware is a term for viruses, worms, trojans, and other malicious computer programs used by hackers to cause havoc and get access to sensitive data. Malware is designed to steal sensitive information from you, slow down your computer, and possibly crash it. While surfing the web, children have no idea what will happen if they click on a link that leads to the download of malware-infected software. As a result, it is better to teach kids about the dangers of clicking on an unfamiliar link. You can also use effective antivirus software to detect malware.
Individuals who use the Internet to abuse others sexually, particularly kids, are known as online predators. Online predators pose a serious threat to children and teenagers who use the Internet. Predators on the Internet may attempt to entice kids and teenagers into sexual interactions or even face-to-face meetings. Predators will occasionally email vulgar content or ask kids to share photos of themselves.
When someone exploits your personal information to commit fraud or obtain a financial advantage, this is known as identity theft. Instruct your kid to be aware of the danger of identity theft and not to share any personal information with others, as this type of crime is mostly aimed at kids.
Identity theft can include unauthorized purchases using your existing credit and debit cards, as well as claiming a refund by submitting a tax return using your Social Security number. According to studies, 39 percent of children had been victims of identity theft.
Depression and Anxiety:
Kids addicted to the Internet are more prone to develop anxiety and depression than those who do not use it for enjoyment. Excessive use of a smartphone can interfere with your kid's sleep. Weight loss, suicidal thinking, loneliness, sadness, and anxiety are some of the effects of increased Internet use.
Sharing sensitive information online, such as a child's home address, school location, phone number, or disturbing images, might put their online safety at risk. Criminals may be able to use this information to their advantage. Explain why giving a password, personal information, or photographs or videos with someone you met online is a bad idea and how it can backfire. Explain to them why it's also not a good idea to share everything with your friends.
Kids may be unaware of the risks that exist in today's Internet environment. It is your responsibility as a parent to guide and safeguard your kid. If your kids have recently begun to use the Internet, they may become addicted to it, and they may have no idea what is right and what is wrong. Gaming addiction, cyber (online) relationship addiction, cybersex addiction, or any other type of internet addiction can lead to dishonesty, anxiety, social isolation, violence, and mood disorders, among other things.
The dark web is mainly composed of illegal products or content that may be damaging to kids. Since kids are surfing the web, they may be interested in learning more about the dark web, which has attracted many children who may be at risk. As a result, educate your children about the dangers of the dark web, which include: children's pornography, drug smuggling, malware, etc.
- Children's Pornography- Any content that displays sexually explicit behaviors involving a child is referred to as child pornography. Child pornography can take many forms, including pictures, movies, and images, all of which can harm a child's behavior.
- Drug Smuggling- The dark web is where most drug smuggling takes place. Drug trafficking has moved from the streets to the dark web, and as kids use the Internet, they may come into contact with the dark, which can be dangerous to them. Kids are always eager to learn new things, so studying drugs will interest their curiosity. Drugs can affect their heart, brain, and even suicidal thinking, leaving them paralyzed for the rest of their lives.
Ways To Protect Kids From Online Dangers
In today's world, everyone's existence revolves around the Internet. Keeping kids safe online is extremely challenging. To keep your kids safe online, you'll need to teach them about internet safety and how to make the best decisions while browsing the Internet, even when you're not with them.
Some basic tips for teaching your children about online safety are mentioned below:
- Explore more about Internet safety, you can't teach your children about Internet safety if you don't know anything about it yourself. Learn about online dangers, internet safety guidelines, and how to protect your child from online dangers.
- Talk to your kid, spend quality time with them, and build a trusting and respectful environment where they feel comfortable sharing anything with you.
- Discussing Internet safety tips with your child calmly is likely to make them feel more at ease with the matter. This raises the likelihood that kids will approach you if they get into problems online.
- Kids are almost always online and rarely offline, and they are so obsessed with their mobile phones that they do not require anything else. Overuse of the Internet can be harmful to them, so keep technology usage to a minimum.
It's difficult, but not impossible, to protect your children in this digital age. It's a good idea to explain to your child that the Internet contains a wide range of content, some of which is inappropriate for kids. Share some real-life Internet stories with your kids to make them aware of the dangers. Educate your child how to protect themselves from the dangers of the Internet, and you can use the guidelines listed above to keep them safe.