7 Mistakes Parents Make in Their Kids’ Online Safety
Parents have a responsibility to keep their kids safe, but it is easy to forget all the playing grounds on which this safety requirement is needed.
For one, it is important that your kids are safe in the home, at school, when they are on the playground or just hanging out on the front porch. With all that in your mind, it is easy to forget about the online safety of such a kid – or work well towards making a solid plan for one.
If you also allow your kids on the internet, here are some mistakes you might be making, and how to fix them.
1 Making ‘Screen Time’ the priority
Most parents think the most important thing in their kids’ online activity policing is the amount of screen time they grant such a kid. This could not be farther from the truth.
No matter how long you allow your kid stay online, chances are that it will be enough to visit the sites they love to browse. That means a 2-hour window is more than enough to watch graphic content, pornography or send/ receive inappropriate messages.
Fix: Rather than just enforcing screen time, know what sites your kids visit when they are online. That will help ensure they are staying safe even in their window of privilege.
2 Zero Limits
Following the above point, it is important to note that setting limits (read; introducing screen time allocations) should not be ruled out either. This is the only way you can ensure your kid has a life outside of technology.
Besides, unrestricted access makes your kid go looking for what they shouldn’t be in the first place. If that continues, there is no telling when they will stumble upon inappropriate content.
Fix: Talk to your kid and let them know how much time you want them spending on their devices. You can increase this allotted screen time considerably till the child is old enough to make their own decisions.
3 Practicing Poor Password Protocols
Parents have a lot to protect on their devices – from sensitive work files to passwords and account login details. Thus, they set strong passwords for their units.
Kids, on the other hand, don’t have such information to protect and as such, do not need strong passwords, right? Wrong!
Your kid could also be exposed digitally in the same way you could be if their password got into the wrong hand. Think about details such as their personal data, home address, school address, and so much more, which could leak just because they didn’t have a strong password to protect their units.
Fix: Let your kids know the importance of strong passwords, then set one for them. Likewise, let them know their passwords should not be shared with others under any circumstances. You can change their passwords frequently to plug such possible leaks.
4 Allowing Free Social Media Reign
Social media is one of the biggest advancements of the internet, but it could quickly turn into a devilish tool of your kid isn’t taught how to use it well. With the rate at which people are tempted to show off almost anything on social media, your kid might reveal something about themselves or your family which you would rather keep a lid on.
Furthermore, predators are lurking online who would prey on your kids’ innocence to do unprintable things.
Fix: Know what social media platforms your kids are on, and make sure they have your approval before using such services.
Some social media platforms (like YouTube) have a kid-friendly mode that you can activate. For the others, you might want to monitor their internet activity to ensure they are not being exposed to inappropriate content or talking to someone they shouldn’t be.
5 Leaving Kids’ Units Unprotected
Phishing attack account for a stunning 90% of data breaches, even after all the sensitization about the matter. This is a kind off attack that adults fall prey to, so you can just wonder how may children will be exposed if they ever come across a phishing mail.
Not giving thought to the fact that your kid could be susceptible to this kind of attack might come back to haunt you.
Fix: Set spam filters for your kids’ mail accounts, if they have any of that. Likewise, install an antivirus on their device to inform of malicious content and prevent them from opening infected attachments or links sent to them.
6 Not Having ‘The Talk’ With Kids
Parents fuss about having the sex talk with their kids so much, they almost forget that they need to do so for their internet safety too.
Your kid should not be left to form an opinion of the internet from what they experience alone, but should have you guiding them through the process. Letting them go through the school of hard knocks could leave them damaged on more levels than one, and you don’t want that.
Fix: Talk to your kids on how dangerous the internet can be on top of all the goodies it brings. Help them understand the fact that there are bad people online, and inform them on how they can walk away from unscrupulous individuals, cyber bullying and so much more. With such openness from you, it would be much easier for such a kid to approach you with a problem they encounter online in the future.
7 Being A Poor Example
It is often said that kids mirror what their parents do, learning much more from such actions than they do from what you tell them. This turns the spotlight on you to maintain the same kind of internet profile you expect of your kids.
Fix: Ensure you don’t share sensitive information online so your kids don’t feel it is only cool to do the same thing. If you can be comfortable with your kids using the internet the same way you do, then you can rest easy.
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