In November 2017, the UK’s NSPCC stated that there was an increase in calls concerning online sexual abuse. It mentioned in this article that there was a 250% increase in calls to its ‘Childline’ between 2014 and 2017. NSPCC is an abbreviation for National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In other words, this meant that molesters were taking advantage of technology to perpetrate their evil. According to the article, “Digital technologies enable ease of access to victims, lowered inhibitions, emotional and digital blackmail”. The technologies online predators use range from short message service (SMS) to instant messaging apps. Thus, this means that there has to be new ways to ensure internet safety for kids as technologies continue to advance.
There are quite a number of ways to keep children safe on the internet. For example, apps like MindGuard keeps kids safe using web filtering. However, one of the challenges is most parents don’t know when their kids are in danger online. Here are the clues that tell you your child is unsafe on the internet.
Internet Safety For Kids – Danger Sign #1: Getting On The Computer At A Particular Time Everyday
Your kid might be in danger if they are online at a particular time everyday. Firstly, they might be meeting someone by that time. Secondly, they might become a target for an online predator. If an online predator finds out what period a child comes online, he/she might try to prey on the child. Ensure you make your findings once you notice the trend. Do not confront your child aggressively instead ask nicely. You can also check their browser history. Additionally you can use web filtering apps.
Internet Safety For Kids – Danger Sign #2: Your Child Is Suspiciously Secretive
Children especially teenagers need their space. Parents should let them have their privacy. However, if your child is unnecessarily secretive then you should do some investigation. One sign is missing web history. If your child always deletes their web history, they might be in danger. Additionally if your child gives funny looks and is always uncomfortable when on the computer you should look into it.
Internet Safety For Kids – Danger Sign #3: Showing Extreme Emotions
If your child is depressed while or after being online, they might be in danger. Also, if the child is too happy while on the internet or after, you have to look into it. While the child may not be in danger if happy, it is safe to check. Happiness might come from manipulation by an online predator for example wooing.
Internet Safety For Kids – Danger Sign #4: Refusing To Discuss Online Activities & Friends
This is just like Sign #2 but very important to emphasize it. If you do not know many of your children’s online friends then you might be exposing them to danger. Furthermore if your child refuses to discuss her online activities with you, they might be hiding something. You need to always be on top of what your kids are doing on their computers and the internet.
Parents need to take full responsibility for their children’s online safety just as they would for their physical security. All too often, parents leave their kids to explore the internet without guiding them. This isn’t only dangerous, it is careless and irresponsible. Many times, online danger can be more gradual and devastating than real life dangers. Keep watch and always speak with your children about safety on the internet.
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