Ever since the world witnessed the tragic outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, a tremendous shift to online resources has been seen in almost every field. Education is no exception here.
Most schools have shut down now and are teaching their students online. Online education may bring valuable benefits in terms of time & flexible learning. Still, it surely poses a threat to your Child’s Safety, and this highlights the importance of internet safety for kids.
No doubt the internet is an excellent source of learning, shopping, playing games or staying connected with friends; there is always an implied risk of falling victim to various online threats every time you browse the web. Children & teens are the most susceptible to this as there are predators, identity thieves, hackers, and others who can make you end up losing your personal information & privacy. Let’s learn more about it.
Internet safety, e-safety or cyber safety; today, we hear these terms whenever any online crime or scam comes to light. But what exactly does it mean?
In simple terms, online safety is an act of staying careful & cautious every time you surf the internet. It is a term that describes security for the activities & transactions being carried out online.
It covers all technological devices with access to the internet, from PCs to mobiles & tablets. Being safe online means protecting yourself from online threats, harms and risks that may endanger your personal information, lead to suspicious communications or even adversely impact your mental health & well-being.
Internet safety for kids is important in protecting a wide variety of confidential data, information and property. People, especially those who use online banking & shopping services, must be more careful. But why?
Today, thanks to global networks, we can interact and exchange information anytime from anywhere. People mostly use the internet for bill payment, shopping, browsing information, or mobile banking like digital wallets. As a result, the internet is a breeding ground for hackers, thieves, and pickers who can gather or steal sensitive data from you and use it illegally. Now you know why internet safety is important.
Let’s examine why Internet safety for kids is important and what steps can be taken to ensure their safety.
Today, online classes have provided kids/students with an excuse to use technological devices more often with unlimited internet access. They have their own gadgets, and they go online for school studies. It gives them increased exposure to the online world without knowing how to handle it. There can be cyber attackers, online thieves or bullies who can brainwash their minds and use them for their own purposes.
The Internet is full of weird, vulgar, immoral & inappropriate content that children may see or get early access to, which they aren’t supposed to at their age. Children must be protected from these viewings to avoid any negative impact. There can be:
Violent or graphic content, such as acts of assault
Downloads of pirated material, including music or video files etc.
Malware is simply software created to cause harm to devices to steal users’ personal data or confidential information. For example, Viruses, trojans, spyware etc. They can be in the form of specific ads which might be tempting to kids, such as picks of the latest toys, video games or chocolates etc. Kids may click on those links that lead to downloading malware-infected software, and you may lose your personal or financial information.
Sometimes kids may find new platforms like chat rooms or social media platforms to connect easily with their teachers for lectures or classes. While these things can be beneficial, there can be online thieves who illegally acquire kids’ personal information like Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, and name etc. and exploit them for their financial misconduct.
Posting images to their virtual classrooms isn’t new for kids’ projects. But it can provide valuable information about them to the hackers like age, home or school address, school location, phone number etc. It may endanger a child’s safety, so learning Internet safety for kids is important.
Phishing is a new tactic used in email attachments or conversations to collect sensitive user information such as usernames, passwords, contact no. and addresses. If a kid clicks on the email links, it might hack the system and steal information.
Online predators or bullies are internet users who exploit children/teens for violent or illegal purposes. While surfing online, your kids might face bullying online, so every parent should try to teach their kids about cyberbullying.
Kids often download homework, videos, assignments etc., provided by their teachers to complete their work. Since it is related to the school, children think it is safe to download. But it puts them at risk of hacking or downloading viruses or malware.
As kids spend more time browsing the internet for school activities, they need to create passwords. But make sure that they keep passwords difficult to guess by the steelers and keep different passwords for different accounts.
Nowadays, kids tend to surf online to look for any information they need in their studies instead of going to the library. They might go to sites that aren’t reliable or aren’t supposed to visit as it can be full of spam links or publicly edited information.
Here are some of how you can protect your children from online fraud. Take a look:
Set standards/ rules for kids about what they can & can’t do online. Go for parental control software with various internet security solutions.
Teach kids how to keep personal information private & consequences of sharing them online.
Teach kids how to use social networking sites safely
Encourage them to share problems with you while browsing online
Monitor their surfing habits
Counselling for online safety
Spend time with them online
Use the email id provided by the schools etc.
Keep strong passwords for accounts
Keep “Privacy” settings On.
Use a secure VPN connection.
Be careful what you download. Don’t click on random emails.
Choose reliable sites for online purchases.
Avoid posting personal stuff like Photos etc.
Don’t make connections with strangers or people you don’t know.
Keep antivirus program up-to-date
You know the importance of Internet safety for kids; therefore, it is important to teach them how to stay safe online. Here, communication or talking to them is a great tool.
Talk openly or regularly with them to help them understand the dangers of online cyber-attacks and other internet risks. You can ask them what they are up to online and start the conversation. Help them understand with examples and tell them the rules to stay safe online.
Security from hacks & viruses
Gives us privacy
Inculcates healthy online behaviour and habits
Protects personal information
Last but not least, it enables students to work in a relaxed environment
The internet is an excellent information resource, but it has its fair share of threats. Blocking internet access is not a good way to teach internet safety. Apply these internet safety tricks and create a habit of discussing their online experiences.
1. What are the risks of a child using the Internet?
Children can face online threats, from cyberbullying to Phishing, invasion of privacy, identity theft and more.
2. How to keep children safe on the Internet?
Educate them about safe online practices and maintain open communication with them.
3. What does internet safety mean to you?
Internet safety can help us avoid online troubles and various online threats.