Without a doubt, the world cannot run without technology. The internet is almost a basic need not only for our children but everyone in the world. Through technology, we can communicate, learn, and be entertained.
However, there is always a flip side–usually not very pretty. In as much as our children need the internet to prosper, they can also be harmed by the same platforms that they visit every day.
So how do we make technology, and more so the internet, safe for our kids? Find out what our experts have to say about protecting children using technology.
Children Using Technology
A study by NetSmartz indicates that children as young as 4 years are using their phones to access online information.
90 percent of children between age 12 and 17 have personal smart devices while 73 percent of teens have active social media accounts where they upload their pictures and other personal information.
Most children access online content using their mobile phones, gaming devices, computers, and tabs.
What are the Effects of Tech on Children?
According to a report by UNICEF, tech has both positive and negative effects on children. While the positive impacts of technology on children are unlimited, the negative ones can have some devastating effects as well.
Technology exposes children to cyberbullying, phishing scammers, exposure to inappropriate content, and online violence. In other cases, children may post things with critical information such as their images that can be used to track their location and reveal important information.
Children, therefore, have to be protected by all means. Fortunately, the same technology can be used to protect them and their activities online.
How to Protect Your Children Using Technology
The dangers of the internet on children using technology cannot be ignored. To ensure that your child is safe, follow the steps below:
1. Manage and Monitor Your Child’s Access to the Internet
Start by installing parental control software on your child’s mobile phone, tablet, gaming console, or computer. This will allow you to manage how/when your child uses the internet.
With this software, you can also manage your child’s access to specific websites and applications. You can dictate how they use each and every internet platform, and you can review their activities later. This will allow you to make the right calls.
You also need to install antivirus software on your child’s mobile phone, tablet, or computer. The antivirus will ensure that your child visits only legitimate websites.
Additionally, with a quality antivirus, your child cannot download harmful content or malware software whether knowingly or unknowingly.
You can also set your antivirus software to block unwanted visitors from your child’s drive-through encryptions.
2. Teach Your Children How to Create Strong Passwords for their Online Accounts
As a parent, you might not always be available to oversee every account that your child creates on the internet. While your children may not be creating accounts that are necessarily harmful, it is important for them to have strong passwords for their general safety.
For instance, a Facebook account is very easy to create. The social media platform in itself is not bad with the right regulations in place. However, strangers might target your child’s account. This necessitates the need to have a strong password to prevent hacking.
Show your children how to create strong passwords for their online accounts. If they are old enough, encourage them to use the vast internet security features available.
For instance, the two-step verification formula is one that most people do not use but can be extremely useful.
3. Let Your Children Know that Strangers are Not Friends
For children who are old enough to comprehend information, remind them that not everyone on the internet wants to be their friend. Some are bad people who are there to collect their personal information.
Teach them that fraudsters can phish critical information such as passwords, bank account numbers, and passwords.
Scammers can always spam their emails, social media, make phone calls or send texts asking for information that is private. Teach them not to open emails from strangers, not to click on suspicious links, and not to reply to spam messages.
4. Have Clear, Laid out Rules for Your Children
In a positive and calm way, explain to your children why you need to oversee their online activities. Explain to them the dangers of spending too much time on the internet and why it is important to be cautious with technology.
Set the ground rules, limit their online time, ask them to inform you before posting anything online, and tell them to be respectful with those they interact with online.
Ask your children to report any cases of misbehavior, insults, or violence.
5. Always Be Ahead of Your Children
Most children are aware of technology more than their parents. While it is true that some of the things that your child does on the internet might not interest you (for example gaming), it is important to have an overview of the same.
Always know the type of games that your children play online, the type of websites they visit, and the kind of people they engage with. Remember, ignorance can be very costly.
As a parent, always keep up with the latest technological trends. You don’t have to dive deep, you just have to know something about everything.
You can achieve this by spending some time with your kids and allow them to show what they do online, you will be surprised by how much they know.
The Key Takeaway
Technology is here to improve everybody’s lives. For children using technology, it helps them to get information, socialize, and be entertained. However, if not monitored, the same technology can cause devastating effects.
Fortunately, you can use the same technology to keep your children safe. Always have antivirus software installed on your child’s smartphone, tablet, or computer. This will ensure that your child can access legitimate content only.
Parental control software is also beneficial. It ensures that your child only uses the technological device during the designated times and for the right reasons.
For a very long time, it has been rare to find women being involved in the tech industry. However, this narrative is quickly changing.