The Internet has already covered the whole globe with wires, and most of the time you cannot escape from it. Sounds like the beginning of a horror story, right? For sure, you don’t have to be scared – technologies bring us so many opportunities and make our lives a lot easier than it used to be. There were literally so few things in our history that managed to shape our culture, communication, and entertainment as much as the Web does.
Yet, there is no place for carelessness – with great power comes great responsibility. Especially if you are a parent trying to raise an adequate child who would later become a decent member of society. What dangers might the internet bring to your home and your little angel? Here is a short guide to online protection.
A Peek at Child’s Online Activities Statistics
Statistics, which actually change every day, show that 93% of American teens have a personal computer, and 23% have their own tablets. Add here mobile phones that kids tend to have from primary school, and you will get so many possibilities for a child to spend countless hours online. What are they actually doing online? You may suppose they brush through all the pages of Wikipedia, or look through an online version of Webster’s Dictionary, but I bet you are not that naïve.
When answering the questions to the surveys most children say that their parents have no idea what the heck they are actually doing online. Are you intrigued yet? Don’t be rushing to peak at your son’s computer screen to ensure he is not watching something he is too young for. It is not that scary– the biggest part of hours spent online (about 76%) go to social media websites and make friends with other people. About 35% of older teens say they shop online, feeling much more confident this way.
Risks for Children Online
I have a strong belief that this is not the full list of things you should be aware of, but this is the ultimate one for the most dangerous ones. If you want to be sure that kid is not getting harm to his mind other than having sore eyes and lack of sleep because of all the night hours he spends online while you are sleeping carelessly in your bed, be sure to keep an eye for these.
If being serious, statistics say that more than 1 in 8 web searches is for erotic content, and by the age of 18 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online. Plus, all the jokes about mistyping a letter in Google search and getting porn, as a result, are not that fantastic, and finding one is not that hard.
- Online casinos
Games of chance, cards and roulettes and other venturesome activities bring harm both to kids and adults (and actually the latter suffer harder from those as they have no one to parent them away from casinos). It is pretty simple to find a casino online – moreover, they are being promoted on the internet. And having an age policy like ‘Click here if you are really 18 years old’ – does anyone click ‘I am younger than 18’?
Psychologists say that bullying is a part of kids’ growing up, and at some point it is natural. But unlike one at the playground or school hall, bullying on the internet can be a lot more hurtful. Profiles get hacked and rumors spread so fast. About 24% of teens claimed that someone has written something about them online that wasn’t true, so you can imagine how terrifying for a kid to be blackmailed and terrified to use social media or share something with others.
Not, it is not that all the games out there are harmful for kids. There are plenty of fun, educational and even amusing games you and your kids can enjoy such as Solitaire Bliss. But there are also plenty of games out there containing violence, sexual content and crude language. Online gaming enables kids to interact with strangers that may mean harm to your child by pretending to be someone else.
- Social networks
As popular as dangerous they say. Even though a great part of parents claim they’ve helped kids to create Facebook accounts, they usually fail to explain to them how to behave online and what image of themselves to project online.
A great illustration of wrong photos choice is the case with a couple of Australian guys who recently created a Facebook page where they collected all the ‘slutty 12-year-old’ pictures they’ve met. 40% of teens have uploaded pictures of their peers passed out and getting drunk, and you should explain to your child about the right content.
What can you do as a parent to cope with these things?
- Talk with your child.
Explaining things you prohibit is a better thing than just cutting online activities out of a child’s life. Talk to the child about sexual victimization and other dangers there are.
- Make reasonable rules and limits.
There are rules everywhere, and limiting internet activities will not harm. Understand child’s needs and interests and encourage them. But ensure you limit their online time so that it does not influence kids’ daily routine.
- Parental control apps
These would help a lot when you are not around your kid to protect him from harm online. Parental control apps and programs are made for PC, tablets and smartphones, and they would block the unwanted websites from working for your kid. They have additional functions you might use as well, for instance, you can find a geofence app for iPhone or Android devices that will notify you if your kid leaves certain geographical limits. Cool, huh? So be sure to check such apps in detail.
Hopefully this post will be a wake-up call for some parents to start controlling their kids' online life more thoroughly. Good luck!