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Shielding Children from Dangers Online

According to UNICEF research, one out of every three people using the internet today falls between the age range of 3 and 18. Although the information on the internet can be beneficial to children as they can play games, attend online classes, and chat with their friends, there are also risks that you might not be aware of.

3 Risks Faced by Children

  • Addiction: This is a significant problem faced by children today. With several kids’ shows online to watch and several addictive adventure games, it is relatively easy for a child to get addicted to excessive Internet use. This action could deprive him or her the opportunity to go out and get useful social or handy skills, and exercise, which could have adverse effects on the health and mental development of the child.
  • Malware: While surfing the internet, children may come across websites that have redirecting ads. Most of those ads are usually intriguing and may pique the interest of a naïve unsuspecting child. Once clicked, it turns them to sites with malware which may attach itself to the web browser or even install on the device, damaging the system and losing information stored on it.
  • Cyber Bullies: Bullying is widespread these days, and not only among children; adults too. Online chat forums are where people of similar interests meet to discuss and share views on subjects. Given that there is some degree of anonymity while on those forums, people can tend to get verbally abusive, especially when they realize the disagreement is with a child.

What Parents Can Do

image from pixabay.com

Children using the internet is inevitable. Although the internet allows freedom of expression, some of these may not be safe for a child. Parents should not shield the child from using the internet, but rather give them proper orientation on how to develop their digital skills.

  • Parental Control: Most devices and smartphones come with Kids settings so parents can block all 18 rated channels on the TV so that the child cannot get access in their absence.
  • Use a VPN: Another way to protect your child is to download a VPN on their device to protect them from hackers, especially when they connect to public networks, which are often unsecured.
  • Monitoring: While the child makes use of the computer, the parent should ensure that the screen of the monitor is within sights at all times to ensure that the child is not viewing inappropriate
  • Education: This encompasses everything from telling the child not to engage with strangers online, to teaching them how to properly stand up for themselves in case a bully confronts them. The lesson should also contain strict instructions about not to reveal personal information on their social media accounts.

Conclusion

The threats that cyberattacks pose are real, and with the influence growing, parents must stay informed about risks their children are exposed to and how to protect them.

Guest Post by: Julie Hughes for TurnOnVPN.Org

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