The internet has become a dangerous place. It was never truly safe, but since there are now millions of users traversing cyberspace, the risks have increased over time. As this technology gets worked into every aspect of our lives, it begins to affect the lives of our children. This new phenomenon is wonderful for things like education and business, but it is risky for socialization.
Parents need to go the extra mile to monitor their children while guiding them into becoming savvy internet users – the Reflex Software website provides some useful spy software reviews for phones and PC’s – check it out here. Lots of good monitoring information for parents.
Below are some of the common but possibly unknown dangers to children and teens in cyberspace.
Children need boundaries. Unrestricted access to a computer or mobile device is not recommended. If you would not let your child spend the night in a home with a family you do not know, you certainly do not want them to have unrestricted access to people and information that may not be age appropriate or even legal. The goal is to limit their time like you would with television.
Keeping kids involved in activities, sports, and real life social interaction will keep them from delving too deep into the internet abyss. A practical way to set up online content boundaries is to create firewalls that are password protected. This will allow you to keep children away from any content you deem inappropriate.
Posting too many, possibly provocative photos.
The internet is a raw and honest place. Many people find it easy to take and post provocative photos. Many do this is order to garner praise from their peers and test their sexual boundaries just as they would in real life. However, posting photos on the internet allows others, and possibly unwanted onlookers to view and share these photos. Such a “leak” of photos could both constitute as child pornography and ruin a teen’s social life.
Making risky contacts.
There are online predators out there. Since the days of AOL chat rooms, those looking to cause harm to adults and children have taken advantage of the anonymity that the internet allows. Remind children that these internet strangers are just like real life strangers. They can hurt them. You can use monitoring software and apps to keep an eye on who your child is communicating with.
Dangerous or inappropriate content.
Pornography, violent photos and video and other culturally inappropriate content should be targeted when setting up firewalls. Parents need to keep up-to-date on new sites and trends to keep their children safe. Teens especially are at the forefront of new trends because they are the ones that drive the momentum behind their popularity. Discuss these issues with other parents and continue an open line of communication with your children.
Cyberbullying is always being discussed because it is so prevalent. Middle schoolers and high schoolers experience this constantly, but even elementary school children are plagued by online bullying. Monitor interactions between your children and others. You don’t have to micromanage and hover constantly.
There will be signs your child is being cyber bullied: anxiety, anger, and other emotions could point to this. Ask questions, love your child, and give them the real confidence they need to combat negative people. They will be able to negotiate the world better as teens and adults.
Do not despair. It can seem daunting to monitor this aspect of your child’s life, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use the tools at your disposal, such as apps and other software, to help you keep your child safe. The internet is full of resources for parents who want create a safe and appropriate internet experience for their children.