The internet can be a worrying place for children and teens. Online risks can have severe consequences if left untreated, from online predators and cyberbullying to sharing too much personal information and phishing attempts. For instance, children may expose their household to cyber threats, accidentally downloading viruses that give criminals access to their parent’s financial information.
As such, parents need to be aware of these risks and know how to deal with them effectively. Today, we are looking at those risks and what you can do to protect your child.
Read on for more information.
What Online Risks Do You Need to Consider?
According to research, 90% of teens agree that cyberbullying is an issue, yet only 63% think it is a serious issue. According to Enough, 47% of children on social have experienced cyberbullying. This can take many forms, from harassment and ridicule over social media to repeated attacks and namecalling on online games. Parents should be aware of cyberbullying to talk to their children about its many forms and what they should do when faced with bullies.
Parents also need to be aware of sexual predators. As more children join social media, some people seek to take advantage of their naivety and make grooming attempts. If left unchecked, children could be lured into dangerous encounters. In addition, online anonymity facilitates cyber predatory activity. As such, parents should use parental control tools to monitor their children’s messages, block any suspicious contacts, and ensure their children do not interact with predators.
Posting Personal Information Online
Many children do not understand online boundaries and may post personally identifiable information on their social media pages. This can be anything from inappropriate images or the home address. Many things your child posts will be viewable to the wider public. However, this also means you can see it as well. Make a point of reminding your child if you can see something, so can other people; it’ll make them think twice about their boundaries and what they share online.
Phishing is the act of using email to trick people into clicking virus-laden links and attachments. Children will often be less aware of phishing emails and may click these links. These links can also be sent via messaging apps and text messages. In addition, cybercriminals sometimes hack social media accounts and deliver links to that profile’s contacts. Parents need to teach their children to avoid emails from strangers and be wary of suspicious-looking messages from their friends.
Accidentally Downloading Malware
Malware is software that can be installed without your knowledge, performing harmful actions on your device like stealing information or using your computer for a “botnet,” impacting performance. Cybercriminals often use phishing to deliver malware, but there are other ways malware can get onto your computers, such as fake online games and advertisements. Education is the best line of defense against malware. However, cyber security software will provide the necessary protection against malware and other viruses.
Posts May Be Brought Up in the Future
Unfortunately, the internet does not have an option to delete everything you post from existence permanently. Furthermore, even if you remove something, somebody may have saved it onto their own device. As such, anything your child posts can eventually come back to haunt them. For example, party pictures or messages may cause issues during job interviews.
Parents should explain to their children that their online actions may have consequences; what they post as teenagers can come back in their adult life. Let them know that they should conduct themselves in a way that won’t reflect poorly on them as they get older.
What Do You Need to Protect Your Child From Online Risk?
As you can see, the internet poses a threat to children and teens. While it can be a great way to communicate with friends and learn new things, your children may need your help staying safe, whether they know it or not.
If you want to protect your children online, download a child safety app for parents, such as MMGuardian. This app offers numerous tools and features designed to monitor your child’s internet activity. Parents receive reports and safety alerts and can also set time limits and block specific websites, apps, and contacts. If you are concerned for your child’s safety, these types of apps are an excellent option.