It’s not unusual nowadays to hear people say that if you want to know how to operate any technical device, ask a child, and they’re not kidding! Computers, tablets or smartphones with Internet access are all a part of children’s lives and kids seemingly take to the digital world likes ducks to water.
Such access to technology and the Internet from such an early age means parents now have to control not only what kids watch on TV, but also the content they can be exposed to over the Web.
The Internet offers so many positive things for children but it can also leave them unprotected against online threats or even dangerous people.
Eight things your kids shouldn’t do online
1. Talk to strangers
Social networks, WhatsApp… there are now many channels through which strangers can contact your children. The naivety of children often means they aren’t aware of where danger can be lurking. The anonymity afforded by the Internet is almost more dangerous than in real life.
2. Share personal information
Many of the things we do on the Internet involve sharing, in one way or another, confidential information. Adults tend to be far more aware of what data they can reveal than children are. You should talk with your children and make them aware of the dangers of providing certain information online.
3. Play without time limits
Almost all children want to download games to keep themselves amused and to have new challenges. In theory, this doesn’t become a problem until they end up spending all their free time doing it. This can affect their relationship with their environment and with other children of their age and they can ignore other responsibilities in order to keep playing. What do we recommend? Set a time limit for everything.
4. Having a profile in Social Networks
Facebook, Tuenti, Twitter, Ask.Fm, Instagram… Nowadays, there are multiple platforms in which children would like to be present, but is it recommended? The age at which someone can have an account depends on the platform. Find out more about it when talking to your child about this, and most importantly, control the privacy of their information once they have logged in.
5. Download inappropriate apps
Google Play and Apple Store offer thousands of apps, many of which are designed to make our everyday lives easier, but it is essential to know exactly what you are downloading and what information you give to and receive from these apps. Not all download sources are safe or trustworthy. Even within Google Play there are malicious apps that subscribe you to premium-rate SMS services or install other programs without your consent. Tell your children to ask your permission before downloading an app and find about it yourself first.
6. Enter websites with inappropriate content for children
Deliberately or not, children may visit websites with content that is ill-suited for their age group. In many cases, just checking the browser history on the computer, tablet or smartphone is not enough. Parental control features let you decide the websites that kids can visit and block those that are inappropriate.
7. Believe they’ve won something
We all receive constant invitations to take part in a prize draw or even messages claiming that we have won some fantastic prize. In order to claim the prize, you are almost always asked to provide some personal information. It’s important to teach children that nobody is going to give them a latest generation smartphone just because they send in their personal data.
8. Suffer cyber-bullying
Given the seriousness of these attacks, children often hide the truth about cyber-bullying from their own parents. Cyber-bullying is bullying among children but carried out across the Web. It is carried out by people from the child’s environment, so it’s important to observe their reactions when using the Internet or interacting with other children on social networks. This way you can detect if there is anything wrong or if their behavior changes.