Security measures to protect children online

A big bulk of today’s information is stored on the internet. Technology has made tasks like learning and communicating with friends easier for adults and children. No matter how long you try to keep your child off the internet, at some point, he or she will have to get acquainted with the World Wide Web.

Malicious actors and tools on the internet are dangerous to every internet visitor. Due to their lack of experience, children are particularly susceptible to cyber threats such as predators, social media tracking, malware, and so on.

The world has been relying on the internet more than ever in the coronavirus era. The utilization of the internet by children has increased significantly. First, schools are organizing online classes on video
conferencing apps so that the education of children does not remain stagnant.

Second, there’s the entertainment factor. Without the fun of going to parks and hanging out with their friends, kids have been forced to spend a lot of their time online. From activities like online gaming to binge-watching videos, the web has offered solace to bored youngsters. However, these benefits come with certain risks.

Dangers Facing Children on the Internet

  1. Sharing Private Information

Some children may not fully understand the dangers of sharing identifiable information on the internet. For instance, they might post private information on their social media profiles or through statuses. This
could be in the form of sharing photos of their homes or current location.
The problem is that thousands of people may be able to view this information. Among them, malicious actors can use this data for nefarious purposes.

2. Stumbling on Inappropriate Content
With a few clicks, children can stumble on inappropriate content on the internet. What’s worse, they can hide this fact from their parents if they feel uneasy about sharing the incident. Sometimes, a child can make an innocent search and land on erotic pictures or videos. Some websites
also harbor pop-up ads which lead to inappropriate content.

3. Cyber Predators
Cyber predators are individuals, usually older, that creepily stalk children. Many of them try to gain the trust of these kids by disguising as a person in the child’s age bracket. These online predators typically use online gaming platforms and social media to relate with the
children. Some go on to deceive the child into physical meetings.

Steps to Take while Protecting your Child from Online Threats

Establish Internet Surfing Rules
Before introducing your child to the internet, lay down ground rules for using the web. You need to inform your child to refrain from posting photos and personal information online. Making friends with strangers should also be abhorred.
If you have older children, you can encourage them to teach the younger ones about their experiences on the internet.

Install a VPN for your Router and Child’s Device
VPN technology is a cybersecurity tool that encrypts your online activities. The app reroutes your traffic through a secure tunnel, ensuring that it’s private from all spying. Downloading a VPN primarily protects your children in two ways. The first is protection from online
predators. A predator can trick your child into clicking a link that would reveal your home location. VPNs prevent this by hiding your IP address and make sure your actual location is private. Secondly, the app secures your child’s device when it is connected to unsecured public networks. Kids love to connect to free Wi-Fi to save data. A hacker connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot can spy on your child’s online activity and steal information. If your child is using a VPN while on public Wi-Fi, the information flowing through the device would remain encrypted. Thus, social media logins, email logins, and banking information credentials remain protected.

Implement Parental Controls. You can stop your child from stumbling on inappropriate content by using parental controls. These controls can be found on devices, programs, and websites. You need to begin with setting parental controls on your home router. This way, the network will prevent websites with randy content from loading. After that, you’ll need to set up controls on the device(s) your child uses. To further protect your child, set controls on applications he or she frequently uses.

Educating your Child on Finances
You can prevent your child from falling for online scams through education. Since children are new to the internet, they may fall victim to websites asking for credit card information in exchange for cheap
gifts. Children can also venture onto e-commerce websites to purchase loads of stuff.
First, you’ll have to teach your kid essential money habits. This gives them basic concepts on how they should treat money as they grow up. Secondly, your child needs to know the importance of keeping their finances secure. Measures used to protect finances online like creating strong passwords and using security software should be explained. This training will be sure to go a long way in protecting the youngster financially.

A child’s first foray into the internet can lead the young one into dangers prowling the internet. These dangers include online predators, inappropriate content, and exposure of private information. To
protect your children, you have to lay down internet rules, provide financial education, and install cybersecurity tools to ensure security.

Source Julie Hughes
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