The internet has changed life as we know it irreversibly and forever; part of acclimatising to this brave new world is knowing how to ensure that we keep our children safe from the many dangers that can be found online. These dangers are changing all the time and we, as parents, need to remain vigilant in what the new ones are and how to best fight against them.
Bullying has always been part of life for children and it’s always been a difficult one to get a handle on, as it can often be hard to know the difference between playful banter and harmful acts. But one thing that was always true in the past that isn’t now is that a child could escape to a safe distance after school hours. But with online bullying it’s so much more invasive, it follows them on their social media accounts right into the home, and lasts, if an embarrassing image or comment is posted online then it’s very difficult to get rid of it.
Posting Views Or Content That Come Back To Haunt Them
It’s not just what others post about them that can be harmful but what they post themselves. One thing that’s true these days is that you have a digital imprint on the internet that everyone can look back on and see. If you go for a job in later life, or even more serious run for election or similar then any juvenile, stupid, mildly racist or homophobic comment made in youthful error can come back to haunt you, pics of drug misuse or even just idiotic pranks can show the young person in a bad light permanently.
There is a lot of ways that kids can get into financial trouble on the internet. If you let them use your phone then it’s been the case that kids have run up bills of hundreds of dollars in additional purchases on games, so it’s important to make sure financial transactions require a password. A particularly new kind of issue is loot box gambling where you can buy a mystery box with the promise of potential huge prizes but the vast majority of times its junk, this is effectively getting children into gambling at an early age.
We all know that pedophiles exist online and it’s vitally important to make sure that kids know to not give out any personal details when online, never reveal their location and especially not to agree to meet up with anyone. But these predators are very resourceful and may not need to arrange to meet a child, so it’s key to not post about events and classes that they are attending, for example something as simple as a child posting that they are going to a local fair or something on social media could allow a predator to attend, finding out info about them before-hand and then make out as if they know the family when talking to them.
Accidentally Downloading Malware
It’s easy to download malicious software if you are not sure what you are doing. When kids are young you can ensure their devices cannot download new software without authorization, and when older teach them to only use the official app store. If you are hit by ransomware or similar it can be very costly or lose vital family photos etc.