They say we are in generation Z, and everyone is trying to belong. Kids don’t want to be left.
Technology is at their disposal ever more than before, so they can easily access the Internet.
Are you concerned about online dangers affecting your kids’ behaviour as a parent?
In this article, we will discuss the dangers of the Internet to kids and how to protect them.
Let’s see the lists of these dangers below.
1. Online Bullying
Online Cyberbullying is when a person or group uses the Internet to humiliate, threaten, or exclude someone else.
Cyberbullying can occur on any form of electronic communication device with internet access: computers, tablets and cell phones.
As a parent, you must be vigilant about keeping your kids safe from cyberbullies.
Kids should be aware of what cyberbullying is and how wrong it is to bully others in this way.
Some children are more vulnerable than others and may have no idea that they’re being bullied until you point out signs to look for, such as:
- Problems sleeping
- Social anxiety
- Unwillingness to go out or interact socially in person with friends
- Loss of appetite or eating disorders
Children should know that they can tell an adult if they feel they are being bullied online to deal with the situation immediately before it worsens.
The child should also know that cyberbullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the parent.
2. Screen Time
- Set age-appropriate limits: Keep in mind that the amount of time kids spend online is less significant than how they use it. That said, a good rule of thumb is to limit screen time (including television) to no more than two hours each day for children over age 2.
- Educate kids about potential dangers: Be open and honest about the risks of chat rooms, instant messaging, e-mail, social networking sites and other interactive technology. Let your children know you understand why these services are appealing to them but encourage them to share any inappropriate or uncomfortable experiences with you immediately.
- Keep the computer in a public area: The best way for parents to monitor their children’s computer activity is to keep the computer in a family room or another location where parents can see what’s happening on the screen at all times. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families establish rules for computer use by all household members and post those rules near the computer as a reminder; examples include “No access without permission” and “No access during school nights.”
- Use parental control software: Some Programs can filter out “bad” Web sites, block certain types of content (such as pornographic images) and prevent users from using instant messaging or downloading files outside specific parameters established by parents or guardians.
The dangers of porn are not new. It’s been around for decades in the form of magazines, videos, and now online. What is new, though, is how accessible it is to kids.
Children are being exposed at younger and younger ages. You might think, “no way – my kid would never look at porn”, but it happens much more than you think.
Research shows that nearly all boys 18-24 view pornography regularly.
And while girls aren’t looking as frequently, they are still doing it – including your daughter, who just got braces and is begging for a cell phone to text her friends after school.
4. Online Gaming Addiction
Online gaming addiction is a condition in which an individual becomes so involved with online games that it causes significant health, personal and social problems.
It can vary from mild to severe.
I’m talking about time spent playing casual and hardcore games on consoles, PCs, handheld devices and mobile phones.
The more intense the game, the more likely it is to cause addiction.
For example, first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty or Counter-Strike draw players into the action and make them want to keep playing.
Here are some signs that may indicate that your child has an addiction to online gaming:
- Your child spends hours a day gaming without getting bored.
- Your child begins missing meals because they don’t want to take a break from their game (this can lead to other health problems).
- Your child starts breaking promises they’ve made with you or others because they’re busy playing games (this could lead to other psychological problems).
If you see any of these signs in your child, consider talking with him or her about how much time they’re spending gaming versus doing other things like exercising and homework.
If their behavior doesn’t change after your talk, then you should seek professional help for your entire family.
5. Inappropriate Apps, Websites and Content
Many apps allow children to engage in risky behavior.
For example, there’s an app called YOLO, which lets kids ask anonymous questions of their followers or friends.
Whisper allows users to share secrets and confessions with others who may or may not be sharing the same school or community.
Thousands of websites can be accessed through a quick Google search that features graphic content such as violence, sexual themes and nudity.
Children should know they should not use apps like YOLO or Whisper since they often encourage unsafe behavior such as bullying and sharing personal information with strangers.
They should also avoid searching for topics like “nude celebrities” on Google since these searches can lead them to inappropriate online websites and content.
Cyberstalking is, using information and communications technology (ICT) such as the Internet, e-mail, or instant messaging to harass or threaten someone repeatedly.
Children can be stalked in various ways: Location tracking using GPS devices on mobile phones, online harassments, sending threatening messages, spying on your child through video cameras set up in a home computer’s web camera etc.
In addition to being a crime, cyberstalking can have serious emotional consequences for stalked children.
Children may feel frightened and vulnerable because they are being monitored and attacked via the Internet, a medium they thought of as safe.
7. The Internet has many Risks for Children.
To ensure safety, take a proactive approach. If you let your children use the Internet, make sure to follow these tips:
- Set up the computer in a common room. It’s hard to monitor what your child is doing if he or she is on a computer in their bedroom.
- Review what they’re doing online. Ask them to show you which sites they visit and if they know how to protect their personal information while using the web.
- Keep track of how much time your children spend online and help them set limits based on age-appropriate guidelines.
Author: Written by Mazino Oyolo
Mazino Oyolo is the Content Manager at Thequickweb.com. He is a Blogger, Freelance Writer, and Internet Marketer.