Protecting children from internet dangers such as predators and other threats is the new 80’s child kidnapper fear. Parents once feared that they’re children would be lured into a vehicle and taken away by a candy stranger. The “Stranger Danger” campaign was launched teaching children how to yell when a stranger approached them. It would then be incumbent on the general public to get engaged to protect that child when they yelled out. Those same threats are still there but are now more plentiful and harder to detect.
The recent advancements in technology are both a blessing and a curse to society. As society becomes me comfortable with technology it is more open to inviting the world into their lives. When the internet was introduced to the public in the late 90’s people were both intrigued and cautious. Scholars were hesitant to accept research data sourced from the internet citing credibility issues. High security institutions refused to engage in that form of business because of lingering security concerns.
Today society now voluntarily provides every minor detail of their lives to someone or something that resides on the other end of their keyboard. The interesting thing is that this someone or something has never been seen or vetted as a trustworthy entity. How can it be that we as a society have become so comfortable exposing ourselves and what is most precious to us to the unknown?
Technology has no age limits
Children as young as 2 years old are now actively engaged in online activities through the use of smartphones and tablets. In most cases these device are internet capable and are accessing content from some web service. Smart devices have become the cost effective form of child care and child entertainment that parents choose to use. Parents that are uneducated to the real danger of the internet lack the understanding of what they are exposing their children to.
There are several ways that we can protect our children from the darkness that the internet exposes us to. Some of the methods are complex and require special expertise. Other methods are not as complex and can be managed from within the home.
Screen Limits and Content Restrictions
The first thing parents want to do is limit screen time for small children who are not using the technology for education purposes. Apple, Microsoft and Google all utilize a Screen Time feature. This feature allows parents to limit the amount of time children spend on a device. After a parent has setup a device for the child based on age limits they can then setup Screen Time.
Age Restricted Content
Age Restricted Content is the second feature parents can setup on the Child’s device. It is important that parents specify the age of the child when setting up the account. Parents need to make sure to designate a sign-on for the child and not allow the child to use the parents account. This feature will allow the parent to restrict things such as content ratings and even web content based on categories. This feature logs what sites the child visits and can even alert the parent if the child attempts to visit a restrict site.
Chatting and Gaming Site Controls
Parents also need to be aware of the content that the children may be downloading on these devices. Chat apps such as Discord, Steam and Twitch are amongst the favorites. These apps allow for text, audio and video chatting with various know and unknown people on the internet. Children will justify the use of these apps for gaming purposes. Please understand that internet predators are a part of the community in these platforms.
Software Security Protection
Various software options are also available for parents to protect their children from internet dangers. Antivirus software companies are available with content filtering and website restrictions. These software options are available at a minimal cost when trying to put a monetary value on our children’s safety. These companies include McAfee, BitDefender and Norton to name a few.
Parental common sense plays an important role in keeping children safe from the dangers of the internet. Parents should not be afraid to educate their children on the hidden dangers of the internet. Parents also have to be aware that the internet delivers content that not all age groups are ready for.
Take the time to keep up with your children’s internet habits. Remember to keep a list of the sites that your child is registered with and the usernames and passwords. Log into the children’s accounts from time to time and look at the browsing history cookies as well as any chat history you can find. In most cases the children are not aware of the chat history that is available for review.
Protecting children from Internet Dangers is societal and humanitarian focus. Feel free to reach out to our Desktop Support Team or Network Engineers for more information and advanced tools to keep our children safe and secure our future generations.