Kids and teens face more online risks than ever as they grow up in a tech-filled world. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure a safe and secure online experience for kids online, educate them on the most common online dangers they might encounter, and equip them with digital security best practices that will help them stay safe while they are using their devices.
This article will discuss the most common online dangers for kids and teens and provide digital security best practices that parents can implement to keep their kids safe while surfing the web.
Most Common Online Dangers For Kids and Teens
Internet safety for kids is becoming increasingly critical as children and teens become more active online. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable and must be aware of potential risks such as cyberbullying, phishing, malicious activities, and privacy violations.
Phishing is an online scam used to gain access to personal information, such as passwords and credit card details. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics to target unsuspecting victims through email, social media, or other websites. Teens and kids are the most vulnerable targets for phishing scams since they might underestimate the dangers of providing their personal information online.
Word Of Advice
Emphasize the following precautions with your kids:
- Delete suspicious emails or SMS messages
- Use ng strong passwords
- Avoid opening suspicious links or attachments
- Watch out for unusual requests that may compromise internet safety for kids
Cyberbullying comes in many forms, such as sending mean messages, spreading rumors, or posting embarrassing photos or videos online or on social media platforms. This can seriously impact young people’s lives, leading to depression, social isolation, and even suicidal thoughts in extreme cases. Teens and kids are at risk when using the internet unsupervised, as they may be exposed to cyberbullies who could threaten their safety and well-being.
Word Of Advice: Educate teens and kids on how to protect themselves from cyberbullying by teaching them never to post personal information online, block or report inappropriate content or individuals, and limit the time spent on social media sites.
Cyber-stalking is a form of online harassment where someone is targeted for malicious reasons. It involves a stalker sending threatening or intimidating messages, monitoring victims’ social media accounts, and trying to access their personal information. Cyber stalking is an especially serious threat for teens and kids who may not be aware of the risks they face online.
Word Of Advice: Educate kids and children to recognize potential threats online and engage in conversations about internet safety to minimize the risk of unwanted contact or harassment from cyber-stalkers.
With the growing popularity of the internet, there has been a surge in adult content that is easily accessible to teens and kids. Adult content can be described as any material unsuitable for children or teens, such as pornography, violence, explicit language, or other inappropriate content. These types of content expose teens and kids to potential risks such as cyberbullying, online predators, and other malicious activities.
Word of advice: Ensure internet safety for kids by having open conversations about safe browsing habits to protect themselves from any potential harm while surfing the web and monitor their online activity whenever possible.
Malware is malicious software installed on computers and devices without the user’s knowledge and designed to damage, steal, or otherwise interfere with the user’s data and activities. Teens and kids are especially vulnerable to malware since they often do not think twice about clicking on suspicious links or downloading applications which could contain malicious code.
Word Of Advice: Educate children about internet safety measures such as avoiding suspicious websites, not opening emails from unknown senders, and using strong passwords for online accounts.
Digital Security Best Practices for Parents To Keep Their Kids Safe
With more and more kids using technology, it has become increasingly important to be aware of and employ digital security best practices for keeping kids safe online. From using strong passwords to monitoring online activities, there are simple steps to protect children from cyber threats.
Using A Child-Friendly Search Engine
Parents can protect their children from internet predators and other potential dangers with the right security measures. Fortunately, there are child-friendly search engines that can provide secure and age-appropriate content for the youngest web surfers.
Child-friendly search engines create a secure environment by filtering out offensive or dangerous content. DuckDuckGo, Kidtopia, and Kiddle are some of the most popular search engines parents can use to ensure their children’s safety while browsing the web.
Enabling Parental Controls
Parental controls allow the creation of rules around the usage of certain technologies and websites, providing a layer of security for children’s online activities. For example, parents can block certain websites, restrict app downloads, and monitor online activity to protect kids from malicious content and cyber predators.
With parental controls enabled, children can surf the internet without compromising their safety, as they will only be exposed to age-appropriate content.
Using Security Software
Security software can be a powerful tool to ensure internet safety for kids. Security software, such as antivirus and anti-spyware programs, can limit children’s access to dangerous websites, help parents monitor their online activity, and set up age-appropriate parental controls.
These safety practices also provide an additional layer of protection for the family’s devices by identifying malicious files and preventing them from being downloaded or installed in the first place.
Keep Your Software Up To Date
With the ever-increasing number of security threats on the internet, keeping software up-to-date is one of the best security practices to maintain online safety for kids. Such practices include running the most recent version of any software on children’s devices to ensure that security vulnerabilities in older versions are patched, keeping kids safe from malicious actors online.
In addition, this practice contributes to a better experience online for teens and kids since their devices have access to all the latest features and enhancements.
What all of the above means?
Children’s safety online is a growing concern in today’s digital world. Kids and teens often do not understand the importance of digital security best practices, which can put them at risk of cyberbullying, online predators, and other dangers online.
Therefore, it is essential to educate children about digital security best practices and equip them with the needed knowledge to stay safe online. Following some basic digital security best practices, parents and guardians can help keep their children safe while they surf or engage with various platforms on the internet.
David Lukić is an information privacy, security and compliance consultant at one of the main identity monitoring and protection services. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to join InfoCollective team since 2022.