4 Harmful things you should shield your kids from online

Parents raising kids in the digital age should always be wary and vigilant against potentially inappropriate media online.

For kids growing up in the digital generation, technology has become second nature. Their growth and development is just as much shaped as the lessons they learn from home and school as it is influenced by the media they consume online.

Kids as young as 6 or 7, for instance, already know how to access Youtube. With just a few simple clicks, they can easily search for videos they want to view. Though this isn’t necessarily harmful, they could also just as easily stumble upon suggested videos that may not be appropriate for kids.

No matter how much parents would like to child-proof the internet, there are still times when they need to be extra careful when monitoring the sites and the type of content kids are exposed to online.

Here are what parents should be wary of when monitoring what their kids access through the internet.

1. Cyberbullying

It goes without saying that parents want to protect their kids from any type of bullying. But online, bullying takes on another, often less obvious, form. For instance, there are memes that poke fun at people with disability or physical “flaws” which kids can see on their Facebook feeds. Other examples are negative comments filled with lewd or offensive language from “trolls” hiding behind fake accounts.

How can you protect your kids from cyberbullies? Keep all their social media accounts private and be vigilant in checking their feeds and friend lists to make sure that they only interact with friends and family.

2. Cyber-predators

Criminals lurking online have become more creative over the years. They’ve managed to devise ways to lure kids into engaging with them online by participating in what interests kids. Examples of this subtle tactic are popular online games such as Minecraft. One of the game’s features is being able to chat with other players all over the globe. Through this, a potential predator could disguise themselves as a kid to gain your child’s trust.

Make sure to constantly monitor what games or interactions your child makes online. Get them to open up more about specific details of their internet experience. Often, predators seek out seemingly harmless platforms, such as games, to gain access to unwitting kids and parents.

internet safety for kids photo: Google

3. Mature content

Though websites, such as dating sites, generally target adults, online ads or links can easily find their way onto your child’s browser screen. Parents should make a habit of checking their kid’s browser history to determine which sites they have been frequenting.

Brands usually target users by age and gender so if your accounts are logged in while your child uses Facebook or Youtube, for example, there is a tendency that ads with mature content will pop out anywhere on the screen or within your feed. Make sure all your accounts are logged out. It will also help if you asked your kids for their social media passwords, but always explain to them why you need to do this.

4. Data thieves

A well-known modus operandi is that of cyber identity theft. In the same way that predators try to infiltrate your life, these cyber criminals focus on gaining access to personal data in order to steal from you or use your identity to make purchases or transactions.

Raise smart kids by always reminding them never to give away information like their address, date of birth, or even their complete name. Don’t give them access to your ATM or credit cards. If they do need to use it, make sure they are supervised at all times.

When we ourselves were kids, our parents often cautioned us about the dangers of talking to strangers. The same holds true for kids now, but on a more larger scale. The internet opens up a world of knowledge, but it also makes us vulnerable to many hazards. Parents of the digital age need to always be a step ahead because the internet’s dangers often hide in plain sight.

READ: Cyberbullying causes depression, nightmares and anorexia, study says

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