How To Keep Your Child Safe Online
How To Keep Your Child Safe Online
Cybercrime has been on the rise, especially with the advent of COVID-19. Now more than ever, children and teens are on the internet using computers, smartphones, and tablets to attend class online and network with their classmates and teachers. The only problem is that their computer use doesn’t stop there.
Most kids are curious, which is usually a good thing. This curiosity almost always drives kids to use their devices for just about everything else besides school-related activities, though, which is where problems start to arise. Before you know it, your underage kids are on social media talking to full-grown adults and using your stored credit cards to buy things that you can’t afford.
For the most part, kids being able to access technology is a good thing. The internet is an amazing learning resource for children of all ages and allows them to connect to the world in a way that previously wasn’t possible. However, there are dangers lurking out there that both children and their parents should be aware of.
In today’s post, we’re taking a break from our weekly VPN reviews to address a very important topic- how to keep your children safe online. Below, we’ll discuss why children are being targeted, in the first place, and what you can do to help keep them safe and secure while still allowing them to access the internet and use technology for their benefit.
Why Children Are Being Targeted Online
At first, you might think, “Why are kids being targeted online? Doesn’t it make more sense to target adults who have credit cards and bank accounts?”
In one sense, this argument is valid. If you’re a hacker who’s looking to steal money, then it wouldn’t make sense to target kids. However, the people targeting kids online aren’t usually looking for money… their motives are usually far more nefarious.
Who’s Targeting Children Online?
Generally speaking, there are three main groups that target kids online:
- Identity Thieves.
Each group has its own separate motive for wanting to target children, so let’s take a brief look at each.
The first group would be hackers who are targeting kids as a way of getting to the adults. For example, a computer-savvy grown-up like yourself might be smart enough to stay away from scammy-looking sites that look like they might give your computer a virus.
Your 6-year-old kid, on the other hand, probably doesn’t even know what a computer virus is. They just see a bunch of bright colors, flashing lights, and fun online activities. Before you know it, they’ve accidentally downloaded a fun “game” or “movie” on your computer that contains a virus. By the time you get back to the computer, the virus has already been working behind the scenes to steal your personal data.
Identity theft is a major issue in today’s society. Scammers steal identities and use them to help unqualified individuals lease cars, homes, take out loans, and even apply for credit cards. However, they’re smart…
If you steal an adult’s identity, they’ll quickly realize and do everything they can to fix the issue before it gets out of hand. Then, a criminal investigation will ensue to find the scammer who stole the identity.
However, if you steal a child’s identity, they won’t find out until their 18-years-old and they’re applying for college student loans! This is why hackers and scammers often use malware or programs targeted at children to steal the identities of young children. By the time anybody knows any better, the scammer will be long gone and the child’s future credit score will be ruined.
The last group of people targeting kids is easily the worst. These criminals could be murderers, rapists, pedophiles, or human traffickers. These scumbags hang around kids’ sites and social media sites and make it their goal to target young children and vulnerable teens.
Your child may jump at the fact that they’re getting some attention from strangers online, which makes them especially vulnerable. Meanwhile, they’re completely unaware that they’re conversing with a predator.
How To Keep Your Child Safe Online
Now that you’re more aware of some of the dangers that your kids face online, let’s take a minute to discuss some tips that will help keep your kids safe online.
1. Discuss The Dangers With Your Kids: First, you should have a talk with your kids. Even if they’re not using the internet freely now, it’s only a matter of time before they do. Explain to your kids that the internet can be a great place and allows them to learn and network with others.
However, also explain that there are predators, hackers, and thieves on the internet who might want to take advantage of them. Instruct them not to talk to strangers and to never meet up with anybody they meet online or provide any personal information if it’s requested.
2. Encourage Open Discussion: In the same vein as the first tip, you should encourage open discussion with your kids. They should feel safe enough to talk to you about what goes on in their lives so that if somebody does target them, you’ll be the first person they talk to.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you’re not judgemental. Remember that these are kids and they’re just learning about the world and the internet for the first time. They need instruction and guidance, not judgment.
3. Don’t Let Young Kids On Social Media: It’s incredible how many young, underage kids are on social media. Despite the fact that platforms like Facebook and Instagram require users to be at least 16, there are hosts of kids under age 12 and 13 on social media in violation of these terms. While social media is definitely a great way to network, it’s not designed for young kids and tweens.
4. Set Up a VPN On Your Kids’ Device: If you want to prevent hackers and criminals from tracking your child’s location, then a great solution is to set up a VPN service on their device. Using a VPN like NordVPN or CyberGhost VPN will mask their IP address and make it impossible for malicious individuals to locate them based on their internet connection.
5. Use Anti-Virus Software On Their Device: For your child’s safety and the health of their device, it’s always a good idea to have some solid anti-virus software installed on their tablets, phones, and computers. Even if they do accidentally download a virus program, the anti-virus should be able to take care of it.
6. Use Child Safety-Monitoring Software: There are a number of programs you can download that allow you to monitor your child’s internet activity. These programs can also be used to block certain content and websites that aren’t appropriate for children.
It’s impossible to shield your kids from the internet as it’s becoming used more often in schools. And to be fair, learning how to use the internet and computers is a very important skill that kids should learn, as most careers in the future are going to require in-depth knowledge of how to work a computer and use the internet.
However, just be aware that there are dangers out there. There are criminals who are specifically targetting children. To keep your child safe online, you need to educate them in the dangers of the internet and take safety precautions to ensure that your always in control of their internet usage.