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Children and Internet Safety – What can you do to protect your child?

Children and Internet Safety – What can you do to protect your child?
June 10
06:49 2015

‘Gadget-friendly’ is probably the best way to describe the present generation of children and while it implies that kids nowadays are quick in figuring out how to use the Internet, there is also a flip side to this trend. Given its vast expanse, the Internet is a viable playing ground for unethical elements that can easily hide behind the mask of anonymity and snare kids who are unaware of such dangers. Where does this leave you as a parent?

True though it is that the Internet has opened a world of possibilities for children, the most persistent dilemma that parents face today pertains to the safety and security of their child. Courtesy of cyber crimes being reported with alarming frequency, it is imperative for you as a parent to be conscious of the perils that your child could be exposed to and take necessary steps to ensure that he/she steers clear of unsavory elements.

Rather than adopt the impractical approach of banning the Internet from the child’s life, a better way of handling the situation entails placing checks wherever required and laying down some basic guidelines pertaining to net usage. To this effect, listed as follows is a broad outline of the steps that you must take to ensure cyber security at home –

Educating your child – Like charity, safety too begins at home and the first step that you can take in this regard entails talking to your child about net related offences and cybercrimes. Instead of shying away from this topic, you must hold discussions at the family table so that the younger generation of your family is not just aware of such incidents but also conscious as to the unpleasant consequences that follow.

Installing a strong antivirus – Adware, malware and virus are inevitable aspects of Internet and the sooner you learn to accept this fact, the better it is for your children. Another important truth that needs to be acknowledged pertains to the fact that most of the virulent sites are packaged in an attractive manner so as to appeal to children. On your part, you can keep such sites out by installing a strong and multi-layered protection system that is capable of identifying even the most subtle malware and preventing it from opening.

Parental controls – As a parent, there are several ways in which you can exercise control, like monitoring your child’s activities and activating controls. While monitoring entails keeping an eye on your child’s usage of the Internet, every program nowadays comes with a provision of parental controls which need to be activated to sift out inappropriate content.

Warn children against interacting with strangers – Many times offers are extended in form of emails, survey forms or a friendly tone. In such a situation, the onus is on you as a parent to train your child in dealing with unknown messages and identities and to avoid opening any mails which come from sources beyond their realm. Training also entails advising children not to post photographs or reveal their name, address or phone number ton an unverified source.

Developing awareness of the Wi-Fi network – Often people are under the false impression that Wi-Fi networks are safe and hence do not pose any danger from undesirable elements. Contrary to this stream of thought, Wi-Fi networks comprise of several devices and this implies that a security breach in one computer may compromise others. Computers are particularly vulnerable in public places like probably Starbucks or the lobby of a hotel wherein connectivity is all that a hacker would need to access details stored in your device. A time-tested method of preventing this is to set a password even for your home network so that there is a firewall in place to keep out intruders.

Everything said and done, the actual problem arises in convincing children that the discourse on Internet safety is not just another moral lecture but something that bears a lot of relevance in today’s life. One of the ways is to pretend as if you are not familiar with the Internet and allow your children to teach you and dominate the conversation. It would then appear to them as if they are teaching you and grasp the concept in the process, thus fulfilling your intention.

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