The Most Common Online Threats to Your Children
The Most Common Online Threats to Your Children
We live in a virtual age. Many kids today are more involved online than even their parents. Navigating the web is second nature to them. This increased involvement can be very beneficial to your child, for the simple fact that they have easy access to a wealth of information. However, it can also be dangerous, as maneuvering around the internet brings us close to several cyber threats. Knowing these threats is vital for protecting your children. Here are the most common cyber dangers to kids and how you can help them stay safe!
Certain parts of the internet are breeding grounds for adult content. Pornographic images, violent videos, and crude language are often only a couple of clicks away at any given time when surfing the web. Sometimes kids seek out this content because they’re curious. Too often, however, they accidentally end up on these sites from clicking the wrong links.
You can take certain steps to help stop your children from being directed to adult sites. Many web browsers have built-in adult content filters that you can activate. Then you can prevent your kids from changing the settings by password-protecting the browser settings. If that’s not quite secure enough, there are plenty of reputable third-party software companies that have parental control software in their web security packages.
Online platforms give sexual predators a place where they can prowl fro
m the safety of their own home, with little fear of getting caught. Their hunting grounds usually take the form of online chat rooms or social media sites. Kids use these sites to communicate with their friends, but predators can also use them to their advantage. They typically do this by pretending to be someone else, often a younger person that wouldn’t make the child feel threatened. Then, once they’ve convinced the child that they are a friend, the predator can then use the relationship to obtain personal information. Children can accidentally expose a wide array of personal information this way, including login credentials, phone numbers, and addresses.
You can mitigate the risk to your child by having a conversation with them about online security. Emphasize the warning signs of a predator, including if they ask for personal information or pictures of your child. Consistently remind them to be on the lookout for online dangers and to log off immediately if they feel uncomfortable. Also, urge them to only interact with people they know in real life, not those they meet on the internet.
The term “cyberbullying” is not an uncommon one in our modern society. It’s the ugly side of social media and other online interactions. While the internet provides access to a cache of valuable information, it also gives bullies a place to take out their frustrati
ons with little-to-no consequences. There are some ways to digitally protect your kids from cyberbullies, but the best way is to have a conversation with them.
Cyberbullying is most prevalent on social media sites. If you’re going to allow your child to possess profiles on these platforms, make sure their privacy settings are set up to allow only those they are friends with to interact with them. Encourage them to only accept and send friend requests to those they know in real life. Then, make sure they know if they ever have problems with being bullied, online or otherwise, that they can talk to you. The most damaging thing they can do is bottle up their emotions and let things fester.
Fraudulent Sites and Scams
Everyone who operates online is susceptible to scams. Young kids and the
elderly are at the greatest risk, however, because they are less likely to recognize the telltale signs of a fraudulent site or a scam. Scams can not only cause you to lose money, but they can also expose personal financial information, such as credit card numbers and passwords. Furthermore, fraud sites and scams can leave your computer with nasty viruses and malware.
The best way to help your children avoid these sites is, again, educating them on what to look for. Suspicious looking ads, strange messages, misspelled words or obvious grammatical errors in content, and links or buttons that mismatch the theme of the current page are all potential indicators of fraudulent sites. Anti-virus and anti-malware software can also help target and eliminate the risks from these malicious links. Never allow your child to purchase things online on their own. This is the easiest way for scammers to get your information.
There are many prevalent risks to surfing the web. However, these risks can be mitigated by educating your children about the dangers and telling them how to avoid them.
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