The Internet can be dangerous for your children and adolescents. From cyber predators to social media posts that may rise to the surface and haunt them later, the risks are ominous. Unintentionally, children can also expose their families to the dangers of the Internet, for example by accidentally downloading malware that can allow cybercriminals to gain access to their parents’ bank accounts or other sensitive information. Protecting children on the Internet is first and foremost a matter of awareness: knowing the dangers lurking in the dark and knowing how to protect yourself from them. Cyber security software can protect them against some threats, but the most important thing in security is communicating with your children.
Here are the top seven risks children face on the Internet:
According to Internetsafety101.org, 90 percent of teens active on social media have ignored the harassment they have witnessed, and one-third have experienced cyberstalking in the past. Social networks and online games are today’s virtual playgrounds, which is why they contain the bulk of cases of cyberstalking. For example, children may be teased in social media conversations. Or, in the case of online games, they or their “characters” can come under constant attack, turning the game from an imaginative experience to a humiliating ordeal.
What better protection against cyberstalking for your children than to talk openly with them about what is going on in their lives and how to deal with bullies.
Sexual predators and other predators of all kinds can stalk children on the internet, taking advantage of their innocence, abusing their trust and, perhaps, ultimately tricking them into meeting them in person, which turns out to be true. extremely dangerous. These predators roam social media and play sites that attract children (the same virtual playgrounds where most bullying takes place). They can exploit the innocence of children, but also their imaginations. “Make-believe play” is a natural part of online games and the social interactions that result from it, but predators can use it as a hook to trap children.
Publication of private information
Children do not yet understand the concept of social boundaries. They may post personal information on the Internet, for example on their social media profiles, which should not be visible to everyone. It can be anything, pictures of embarrassing personal moments at their home address.
If your kids post in “public” mode, you can see their posts too, and there’s no harm in reminding them that if Mom and Dad can see them, everyone can. Don’t snoop around, but discuss social boundaries with your children.
According to cybersecurity professionals, phishing is the use of emails to trick people into clicking malicious attachments or links. (“Hi, I thought you would like it!”) Text messages can also be used (this is called “smishing”).
Phishing emails and smishing texts can happen at any time, but the cybercriminals who design them monitor sites that are popular with children and collect information like email addresses and names of friends for use. as part of their scams. Teach your children not to click on emails or texts sent by strangers, and to beware of messages supposedly coming from their friends, but which do not contain any real personal messages.
Falling into the trap of scammers
Kids are unlikely to be fooled by Nigerian princes offering them a million dollars, but they can fall for scammers who offer them things they particularly enjoy, like free access to games. in line. Young people are easy targets for con artists because they have not yet learned to beware. Like phishing, cybercriminals can use sites popular with children to spot potential victims and then promise them something in return for what they are looking for, such as parental credit card information.
Whether it’s young or old, the best protection against scammers is knowing that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Teach your children to beware of overly tempting online offers.
Accidental downloading of malware
Malware is computer software installed without the victim’s knowledge that performs dangerous actions on the computer. This could include stealing personal information from the computer or hacking the computer for use in a “botnet,” resulting in slower performance. Often, cybercriminals trick people into downloading malware. Phishing is one of them, but there are others (such as convincing victims to download a so-called game) that can be particularly appealing to children.
Like scams, your best protection is to let your children know, although antivirus software and associated safety protections can protect your child’s computer from any malicious program that sneaks into it. In addition, many Internet safety products also include specific parental control features that allow you to securely supervise your children’s Internet activities.
Publications that will sooner or later come back to haunt a child
There is no “Delete” button on the Internet. Anything your child posts on the internet will be next to impossible to remove later. But teens, in particular, don’t think about the fact that a future employer (or a potential spouse) might react to “funny” pictures or other personal content they post on their social media profiles or on social media. ‘other websites.
Explain to your teens that they can change the way they want to show off online, but the internet won’t let them.
The internet can be risky for children and bring wonders to them that previous generations would not have dreamed of. Make sure your kids know the joys of the virtual world, not its dangers.
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