During this COVID19 and precaution measures, young kids are introduced to home-based online learning. Stay home to stay safe. However, are they safe from the internet world?

Giving a kid a laptop or smartphone to keep them occupied for entertainment or educational purposes. Perhaps in order to snatch a minute or two of peace and quiet in the car for the benefit of your sanity. It is often a safe and harmless activity but, in turn, unrestricted and unsupervised use can also pave the way to problems. Children now know how to take pictures, and get to their favourite videos on YouTube. They may even know how to use Facetime to make calls to friends and family!

Do you agree security is the most important piece of information to educate them about? As with anything else, the Internet comes with risks. When not educated, kids have a higher chance of encountering them. It’s important that both parents and children know about Internet security. This can prevent any mishaps and trouble that could come with using it.

The sooner they learn about cyber threats, the easier it is to teach them how to mitigate them.

Top 10 Pointers To Educate and Communicate To Your Kids!

Kids need to be aware of malicious emails coming from someone pretending to be a brand, company, or someone they know. To teach kids about who they can trust online, discuss with them the warning signs of a suspicious online message:

  1. You don’t know the sender name
  2. It doesn’t address your kid by name and instead uses a vague introduction
  3. It’s offering something that’s too good to be true
  4. There are grammatical errors
  5. It’s asking for personal information like your full name, phone number or address
  6. Keep personal information personal (don’t chat/send photos to strangers).
  7. There is a suspicious link in the email
  8. Kids should be taught to ask permission before signing up for anything.
  9. Know how to recognize ads and don’t click on them.
  10. Never share passwords and make strong passwords.

Parents May Consider The Followings:

  • Turn on the “Do Not Track Tool” on your browsers.
  • Read the Privacy Policies on all the services and apps you use.
  • Teaching your kids to create passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols will prepare them when they acquire their first mobile device. 
  • Respect age limits on all social networking sites.
  • Set privacy settings on all social networking sites.

Parental control tools, installed on a child’s device, can give parents a good overview of which apps they use and help identify any sudden changes in that usage. You can establish blocks on specific websites, set up adult content controls, and in some cases, to set schedules to prevent too much screen time. 

Parents are advised to use a non-confrontational approach when talking to your child about the issue by telling them stories that happened to other people – to your friends or their children. Do not forget to add how they succeeded in resolving an issue. Use these stories as an analogy to what you suspect might be happening to your child. It eases the situation for a child when talking about an unpleasant experience is difficult for them. They may “open up” more as this type of conversation can make them feel they are not alone in experiencing such problems, and it can let them know that you understand and can help.

Here’s a list of signals that might indicate that your child might be a victim of digital bullies:

  • Sudden loss of interests
  • Easily Mood Swings
  • Loss of lost weight or appetite
  • Having troubles to sleep during the night and look stressed out in the morning
  • Finding excuses not to go to school
  • Start to distance themselves from family as well as friends, hide from the outside world and avoid or delete social media accounts, something is probably amiss.

If you find your child is being cyber-bullied, it is important to record any evidence at hand of these activities, including text messages, screenshots of social media posts, and a diary of incidents to bring up to the school — or if necessary, go through the legal system. 

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