Making the internet a safe place for our kids

Most of the people raising kids today have a clear perception of the world devoid of internet. For their kids which were born with every information just a click away, however, internet is the world, or at least its integral part. And although parents are aware that internet can be very powerful learning tool, and great factor in emotion and social maturation, this slight generation gap usually leaves children exposed to some treats their parents are completely unaware of. Let’s look at some of them, and see how we can make internet a safer place for our kids.

Most Common Internet Dangers

  1. Cyberbullying – It happens both on playground and in cyber space. As a matter of fact 15% of teens claimed they were the victims of online meanness.
  2. Predators – The internet is the place where people have a chance to meet new acquaintances. Not all of them have to reveal their true identity which makes internet the perfect place for all the predators and stalkers to meet and endanger your children.
  3. Inappropriate content – Your child could unconsciously stumble upon content including pornography, and/or promoting violence, hate speech, etc.

What You Should Do

  1. Speak with your kids about the threats – “First step in avoiding a trap, is knowingof its existence”. In other words, if your kids are not aware of the threats nature or its face, they will not be able to recognize, and avoid it. Just be sure to start this education early and be the one who engages the conversation.
  2. Encourage your kids to address the online issues – Ask your kids to tell you when someone they don’t know tries to communicate with them, someone harasses them, and when they stumble on some inappropriate site (79% of unwanted exposure happens at home, so pay attention to your kids’ activities to see how honest they are).
  3. Lay down the rules – Ask your kids to follow these simple rules:
    • Never provide personal details
    • Always save chat logs
    • Never access the internet without active firewall
    • Never respond to hostile messages
    • Never meet “online friends” without supervision

Safe Online Environment

Of course, all of these threats and issues shouldn’t prevent you from making the internet an important part of your kids’ education and maturation. On the contrary, you should use some safe online environments to get them familiar with all the perks internet can offer and teach them to follow the “online rules”.

For example you can allow fun and educational online role-playing games that allow your kids and teens to participate in controlled online communities, and give parents a corner to hang out. Or the usage of a social entertainment network for kids allowing them to connect with their “real world” friends, and share family-friendly-filtered content.

These were some of the most common cyber threats your kids can face and some of the most efficient methods to get them out of the way. Once your kids learn how to avoid them, and how to become members of different online communities, internet will finally be able to take the place in their growing up which it most definitely deserves.

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