Children born in this era are going to grow up online, and there’s not much to be done about that. They’re going to see things you don’t want them to see, and do things you don’t want them to do, because they’re kids, and that’s what kids do. What you can do is educate yourself and your kids. Making sure that those kids are aware of the dangers they face is crucial.
The infographic below talks about well-publicized threats like cyberbullying and online predators, as well as more universal threats like data security. Then, there’s sexting and online pornography, which aren’t so much online issues as they are extensions of problems that parents have faced for decades, long before we had computers. That’s dealing with hormones, and that’s a little more difficult to deal with.
The infographic breaks up the five dangers, but at their core, all can be addressed in the same way – treating your kids like adults. The infographic discourages going behind your kids’ backs and secretly monitoring their web use. That’s probably a good idea – kids are pretty quick to catch on, and it’s unlikely they’ll be in the dark for long. Instead, opening up a direct dialogue is recommended – tell your kids directly about the dangers and risks of the Internet and that they should always feel free to talk to you about something that bothers them. If you’re going to use parental software, tell them about it – otherwise, once those kids discover it, the first thing they’re going to try to do is circumvent it. Build up trust, and that might not happen.
That last bit is important, because parental control software is vital, especially for younger children. SmyleSafe, the company that produced this infographic, currently sells parental control software for web browsers on all major smartphone operating systems. Parental control software can filter out dangerous websites, while still giving kids the freedom to explore and discover the Internet at your their own pace. That’s huge, because if parental control gets to the point where it feels punitive, it’s a lot more likely that kids will try to rebel against the system. At a young age, that could mean real danger.
Protecting children is all about respect going both ways. Helping your children understand why parental control software is necessary can go a long way toward keeping them safe.