Protecting your kid’s security and privacy online is of utmost importance. Failing to do so can have damaging consequences.
With spammers, cybercriminals and all manner of people with malicious intentions prowling the internet looking for a victim to devour, there hasn’t been a better time to mind about digital privacy for your kids than when they are young.
The fact that your children are using the internet should be enough concern for you as a parent/guardian. Playing an oversight role cannot hurt your kids in the least.
Giving them your tablet/laptop and telling them to ‘enjoy’ themselves is the worst disservice you can subject the kids to.
Some of the worst-case scenarios described below can occur to your kid, and you will wish you had taken the necessary preventive measures.
There are a lot of smart toys designed to help your kid grow and learn. They include My Friend Cayla, Hello Barbie, and CloudPets.
That sounds cool, but beware, hackers can target your kids.
Do you wonder how?
Because kids offer clean credit history and an unused Social Security numbers that cybercriminals can use for identity theft.
The toys also collect loads of information from your kid, and they are not always forthcoming on when they take the information or what they intend to do with it.
Accused of Crime
It’s a fact that everyone has a right to information, especially in the privacy of their home.
However, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Mattel Aristotle and other home assistants have others ideas.
They are designed to eavesdrop on every conversation you have. The companies collect and store tons of data which, again, they don’t disclose what they do with.
The worst part?
If the data gets subpoenaed, the companies would have to hand it over to the authorities.
What if your kid had a conversation about terrorism and other illegal activities that are subject to investigations by the authorities?
The companies may be forced to give up the details and land your kid in a very hot seat.
School bullying is something we are used to, but cyberbullying is not.
Bullies have a way of following their victim’s right to their bedroom mainly due to technological fluency and the bully’s ability to remain anonymous.
There have been cases of kids committing suicide when they were unable to deal with online bullying.
Unlike the orthodox bullying where the attacks end as soon as a student physically leaves his bullies, the target of cyberbullying gets followed in the home and undoubtedly into his/her bedrooms.
Statistics show that one in five repeatedly cyber-bullied teens contemplate the suicide. That alone should tell you how serious the problem is.
Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Exposure to sexual and (therefore) inappropriate content is a big concern for parents with kids who have internet access. Kids are always curious and are on a constant lookout for new things.
There is no shortage of pornographic websites that your kid can visit.
Whether they accessed it intentionally or unintentionally, teens and kids feel embarrassed regarding viewing the sexual content online most of the times.
Hence it is essential that parents do not exacerbate the feelings-of-shame whenever children get uncovered to such material.
Apart from exposure to inappropriate content, statistics also show that one among the five young individuals experienced the unwelcome sexual solicitation over the internet.
Perhaps the most significant concern is that most of the children who confront the aggressive sexual-solicitations ‘never’ notify about the issue to an adult (which they understandably should as a must).
The aggressive sexual solicitation possesses sexual solicitations which include offline outlets too – that can have mail, physical gifts or requests for meeting in person. It implies probable breaches of the privacy as well as other bodily risks.
How to Protect Children Online
The following are some of the steps a parent can take to protect their children’s privacy and security without necessarily invading their privacy;
- Start discussing online privacy and security with their kids at an early age, the moment they start accessing the internet. Make them use a top VPN service to make their internet activities secure.
- Discouraging kids from having online conversations that they would otherwise not hold one on one.
- Teach kids to be wary of strangers bearing gifts just like they would in real life.
- Ensure that kids never browse unaccompanied. Set their devices in such a way that they forget the Wi-Fi access code so that they cannot get online without adult supervision.
- Block the sites you consider risky.
- Monitor the kid’s friends and contacts in their social media accounts.
- Engage in age-appropriate open discussions about your child’s online activities.
That will encourage your kid’s cyber minds to learn the benefits and realize the dangers of the internet.