Children spend a lot of time on the internet for various activities including their studies. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago, with almost everything moving online, the dependence of children on the internet has increased. As the kids are spending more time online it’s important for parents to keep a watch on them and monitor their internet usage. Increased dependency on the internet exposes children to the risks of cybercrime.
The responsibility of the parents has increased in recent times to protect their children from the ill effects of extended internet use like cyber bullying, hatred, trolling, social media addiction, pornography, gaming addiction and online gambling among others.
Have an open conversation with your kids about their communication habits. Make sure that your kids are aware that rude, offensive or inappropriate behaviour is never acceptable, both in physical and virtual environments. Encourage your children to tell you or a trustworthy adult right away if they encounter any of these. If your child seems upset or reclusive when engaging in online activities or if they exhibit other warning signs of cyberbullying, take notice and try to talk to them about it.
To help shield your kids from the risks of the online world, you can follow these simple steps.
Make your kid comfortable enough to inform you about bullying behaviour online or otherwise.
Stay composed and advise your child not to retaliate.
Block the bully.
Save the evidence for the future. If you feel that your child is not safe then lodge a complaint on social media platforms and with school officials or law enforcement agencies.
Problem: Sexting and Pornography
Often monitor your child’s texts, emails and internet browsing history.
Discussing the harmful consequences of sharing salacious pictures tell them that it is okay to say no to such requests.
Report the person demanding or sending sexually graphic material to social media platforms, and law enforcement agencies.
Problem: Privacy and Identity Theft
Use parental controls for internet usage by your kids.
Instruct them to not open links and attachments from unknown sources.
Tell them to abstain from replying to emails, messages and texts from random people.
Ensure to regularly change passwords. Also, use password protection to launch devices as well as apps.
Tell them about the risks of sharing private information.