Every loving parent would want to protect his or her kids from digital risks. As a loving parent, what would you do if you were given a gun to shoot your kids? That’s too gory to imagine, isn’t it? Exactly! That’s because the majority of parents today are loving.
I did understand that, and that is why I find it hard to picture that any loving parents would intentionally harm their kids. But sadly, many parents today have been doing that. Do you wonder how? Okay, this isn’t about real guns, that’s a relief, huh? Not really. I’m talking about digital risks for kids, which could pose threats to your kids’ life. Do you now get the point? It will become more apparent as you read on.
The internet poses several risks today. These risks include the inappropriate use of children’s private information, children access to harmful and unwholesome contents, cyberbullying, and many more. There are several digital criminals today that expose children to the worst form of abuse and exploitation, among them include online sexual abuse and child trafficking.
As a result of that, parents mustn’t play any roles in exposing their kids to these internet fraudsters and impostors, and then, parents must endeavor to help their kids understand basic internet rules so that their data will not fall into the wrong hands. But how can parents successfully carry that out? Below are five digital risks for kids, and realistic ways parents can protect their kids from these risks. I know you love your kids. Trust me; I do love them too.
Digital Risks: 5 Tips on How to Protect You Kids
In a recent study, it was reported that 30% of parents post pictures of their children on social media at least once per day, some parents, about 58% do without seeking their kid’s permission. And by the time they are above age 10, their photos and videos online would have been more than 1000.
Well, know this, oversharing of children’s videos and pictures can put your child’s physical safety, reputation, and privacy at risk. Do you know that with your child’s photo, a cybercriminal can create a fraudulent account anywhere in the world? But what if you feel the urge to share your children’s photographs and videos, what should you do?
What You Can do:
- Think Moderation
- Check security settings on your social media accounts and maximize privacy setting to limit those who can see your post to your friends
- Check Your friend’s list and verify if they can all be trusted and wouldn’t share your children’s photos and videos with another stranger
- Before making a post, ask yourself, “will I feel terrible if it gets to strangers?”
- Hide details like home address, birth date, uniform, password hints, financial details from the picture or video.
- If you feel the urge to share some photos and you aren’t sure if it will get into wrong hands, you can exercise patience and share with trusted friends who visit you at home.
Sadly, drastically, cyberbullying has increased over the past years, from 11.5% to 15.3%. That shows that the internet space is getting more ugly by the day. And when checked, most parents are contributors to the increase in the cyberbullying of children. Cyberbullying being one of the digital risks for kids, these are what parents should do:
What to do:
- Make Cyberbullying discussion regular and sincere in your home
- Inform them that you will periodically review and check their friend list and edit their privacy setting
- Create or develop simple and standard family rules regarding the type of pictures to share; what to write and details they can share online
- Discuss together what is termed as appropriate digital behavior
- Research and share with them a few social media safety guidelines that have been published by trusted websites
- As a parent, stay current on trends and current slang so you can discuss that with your kids and spot red flags easily
- Teach them tolerance, kindness, and how to interact with diverse people
Warning: Don’t provoke your kids with rules. When you tell them what to do, explain why it is vital to do it, and the consequences. If possible, get real-life experiences to buttress your point. And lastly, be consistent.
3. Online Video games
While playing games is an excellent way to entertain oneself and build one’s intellect. Children today play online games more than adults. Thus, they could be exposed to strangers who would use their information. Of course, you’d have discussed the type of video games that is appropriate for your kids, but these are precautions that you can teach them.
What You Can do:
- When setting up an online video game, inform them to use a screen name or first name instead of the whole name
- Tell them to concentrate on why they are playing a particular game
- Inform them to resist the urge to share personal information with strangers either in voice or text format.
- Advice them not to give out phone numbers, or any other details.
- Allow them to work with this quote, “It’s just a game; you don’t need to know who I am in real life.”
4. Excessive Smartphone Use
There is no denying that smartphone use and depression are related. Avid users of electronic devices are twice as depressed, distressed, and unhappy as light users. Unfortunately, the majority of kids today spend more time with their smartphone. And this adds to one of the digital risks for kids. But there is a way out.
What You Can do:
- Create time for discussion in your home to allow your kids to share their feelings, friends, and hope
- When they express themselves, listen more and talk less
- Eat a meal together, at least, once per day, and while on the dinning, it should be screen-free
- Don’t allow endless access to phones, develop simple rules regarding smartphone use
- Teach them how to set priority
- Help them master how to keep to-do-list, so they can avoid procrastination and learn moderate use of phone
- Set and explain consequences that follow any inappropriate use of phones.
- Lead by example
5. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation that is as a result of smartphone use can affect your kid’s performance at school. In this year common sense Media survey, 59% of teens go to bed with their phones. One-third wake up to check their phone each night. Can parents guide against sleep deprivation, which is one of the digital risks for kids? Yes!
You can do:
- Discuss with your kids the emotional and physical consequences of sleep deprivation
- Tell them to turn off their phone and drop on the table, far off the bed
- Establish phone curfew in the family.
- Give gifts for good performance
- Discipline when rules are broken
Yes, you can successfully address these digital risks for kids. As expected, persistence and consistency are needed. Also, when your kids can see that you hold those values dearly, there wouldn’t be a problem adjusting these practical steps analyzed.
Now that you’ve been armed with the necessary weapon, what can you picture? Picture yourself with a riffle, having your kids behind you while you are firing these dangerous threats – digital risks for kids.