So many Online Child Safety guides are just scaring parents, without telling them what they can actually do; and this is why we came together, a group of cybersecurity experts and parents, to create a different guide. It’s updated for October 2020, and it’s all about steps you can take to protect your child from Sexual predators, Cyberbullying, Mobile phone addiction, and hurtful content. While we don’t think you should panic as a parent, you do need to be aware of the risk’s magnitude, as every kid could be affected.
What can we do as parents? Instead of using technology just to keep kids occupied, we need to educate them about it. Instead of sticking phones in their tiny hands at younger and younger ages, we need to tell them about the dangers of online life. And instead of hoping everything will be just fine, we need to take action, check our kids’ activity, and make sure it actually will be fine.
This comprehensive guide will show you how. In it, we’ve outlined eight areas that you should pay attention to as you navigate this complex online world – from mobile devices to social media, gaming, cyberbullying, and information security.
The usual challenge is that most parents don’t really understand platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Twitter – not to mention 4Chan and gaming communities. But for their kids, the online world is more real than the real world. It is crucial for our children’s sake that we understand what they see online, what is out there, both good and bad, and how it impacts their physical and emotional well-being.
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to put certain technical controls in place to protect your children online. Far more importantly, the best thing you can do to protect your children is to talk to them. This guide will help you set clear boundaries for what and when they access online, but also to be there for your children when they make a mistake, or when they have gone too far. Isn’t that what parenting fundamentally comes down to?
1. Mobile phones and apps
According to research by SellCell, the average age that children get their first smartphone is 8 years old and it seems to keep dropping. The average was 10 in 2015 according to 000. While giving a child a smartphone comes with some benefits, it’s easy to forget they’re no less than a Pandora’s Box.
Smartphones give kids unprecedented freedom: The ability to communicate with people without supervision, to consume whatever content they desire, and even act forcefully towards other kids online with ease. If they don’t know how to behave with their phone, follow basic ethics and caution, and be aware of the risks – they could fall victim to online harassment, Malware, and money theft, get exposed to violent or sexual content, and far worse. Since smartphones are personal devices, we don’t often know what our children do with them, how they use them, and what threats they encounter.
If you’re considering giving your child a smartphone, it’s critical to have some clearly outlined guidelines in place beforehand, so that everyone is on the same page. If your child already has a smartphone, it’s not too late to review the family rules. Demonstrate to them that having a smartphone is a big responsibility.