Keeping Children Safe on the Internet and on Social Media
The Internet is a great source of Information, but it also represents a menace for children. Besides the inadequate content that young ones could find online, there is also the danger of being harassed and abused on social media.
Unfortunately, there were cases of children that ended up in the hands of abusers, because they are naïve and do not know the dangers. The phenomenon of cyber-bullying among children and teenagers is also well-known, affecting very many young people.
So, how can children be protected from the dangers of the Internet, without taking from them the chance of finding good information? You can start by making them use the kiddy friendly search engine KIDREX www.kidrex.org instead of Google. Try it for yourself, if you search for something inappropriate it does not give any results.
You could opt for security programs that can be installed on the computer and tablet, which will allow you to decide which pages can be accessed and which pages have to be blocked. The best one for 2016 which has won a Gold Award is Net Nanny www.netnanny.com. This way, you can keep certain content away from the eyes and mind of your child, while he/she is surfing the Internet. Children see the online world as a fascinating place where nothing can go wrong or be dangerous. How can it be when they can find games, funny videos, animal outlines for them to colour, and so many more interesting things?
As soon as a child becomes interested in the Internet, you should also start talking with him about online safety. They should know that there are viruses and harmful programs out there. They should also know the importance of a password and security program, which keeps the computer safe from any cyber attacks. Also, they should know that everything they do on the Internet becomes permanent. So if they wouldn’t do a thing in real life, they should not do it on the Internet as well. Thus, they should not type something offending or bad, because it cannot be deleted. Because of this reason he/she should never disclose personal information, like, phone number, address, and so on, to anyone online because it would be like talking to a stranger on the street.
For smaller children, it would be wise not to allow your children to browse the Internet without your supervision. You need to try and monitor his/her activities online as much as possible. For older children, to make sure that they are safe on social media, make sure that you are one of their friends and contacts on their social media profile. Again, make sure to explain to your child that whatever he or she does on social media it will stay there without the possibility of it being erased.
So even if the Internet appears like an imaginary world, it is not imaginary at all, the consequences being as severe as in the real world.