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What is Internet Safety for kids
The World Wide Web is more like a magical world of information where all answers are in front of you at one touch of button. Just say Go and the answers are right in front of you. So can't we say that the internet is a boon for today's kids who don't need to run behind their busy parents asking for answers. Just type the word in Google Search and click Go, and in a matter of seconds Google Search comes up with not one but 10 to 15 pages or even more with as many answers best suitable for the word. So can't we say that for today's kids internet too serves as a shortcut to all their questions and information. But as you say that even a magical world where there is treasure chest, flying horses, magical carpet and even fairies, there are witches, dragons and wizards who can make the journey quite adventurous and dangerous; in the similar manner internet too can pose severe threat for a child with various inappropriate exposures, virus attack and various other threats which a child would ever imagine.
What is internet safety concern for kids?
When we say internet safety we highlight an issue where we consider internet to pose severe threat to a child by means of various wrong doings and crimes that have been carried on the net. Children are known to be vulnerable to such threats and are the most desired victims by these cyber criminals.
Can we stop kids from accessing the world wide web?
No we can't. Kids need to use internet as much as we do. There can be various reasons why a kid may need to use the internet, including the research and project work provided by schools, collection of information, data download, social network access and even for internet games and other entertainment.
Possible threat for a child
One of the most possible and serious threat for a child is the chances of falling for any trap related to marketing scams. If that's not enough then a child poses threat even from various malwares and viruses which enter into the computer when the kids download unverified data in form of free games and free software. A child can also fall prey to phishing, cyberbullying and pornography sites when he or she visits few of those pages provided by the search engines. One more threat that poses as danger for not just kids but for parents is the uploading of personal information and family images to unreliable sites. Nowadays kids are also known to provide parent's credit card information online for buying games as well as other items on various phishing sites.
When a child types a word search in any of the search engines, along with useful data many unreliable links too are provided. If a child visits those links which lure kids with free game download or win prizes etc, then the child has just invited trouble for him as well as his family!
How to help your child with internet safety
Now the question is how can parents actually help children with internet safety? Here are few possible ways a parent can definitely try to work out with internet safety for kids:
1. I have always believed that whatever mistakes a child commits it is the parent's job to take up the responsibility when it comes to young children. Since kids are innocent they are unaware of the possible threats and hence when they login to the net parents need to be aware of what the kids do, which pages they visit and which data or files they download. I am sure it may be difficult for parents to spy on a teenager, but children within the age group of 5 to 14 can definitely be kept under control. This is the age when a child can be more curious and that's why parents need to be more cautious.
2. My kiddoe's friend who is just 7 years old buys various musical CDs and online games by providing his father's credit card information. The worse part about this is his parents, who seem to be immensely proud of their child. Please stop being proud of such children and try to avoid this by stopping them by doing so ever again.
3. As a parent speak with the child about the internet safety and the grave danger it possess. I tried talking to my 9 year old and believe me he really got scared with the idea of the computer crashing and he not been able to play any game at all. So instead of telling the children in harsh words, try to be a bit manipulative and tell them how the threats can take their computer away from them. Parents should explain the child about how viruses enact the role of monsters in the internet world and how they can attack the computer and destroy their happiness.
4. Create a relationship of trust within you and your child. Let your child come and talk to you about anything that he found strange or uncomfortable while surfing the net.
5. Try to keep your personal information such as credit card information, passwords and bank account details away from your child. Always keep a tab on the browsing history of your child and keep a note of his activities.
6. We can block certain websites from our kids by the applications provided in the toolbar. Don't forget to do the same.
7. Kids are known to create fake accounts on various social networking sites by posing 18 year old. I recently got friend's request from a person posing MBA student, but it was his residence address which helped me find his real identity as it was in my cousin's neighborhood who also happened to be his mutual friend. On enquiring about him, my cousin told me that this person who sent me the friend's request was only in std 7 and has faked his identity. But to my surprise the way he scrapped and shared his opinions within the site would have never revealed his real age. Hence parents need to keep a check on such activities of their kids. I promised myself the next time I visit my cousin's place, I would definitely inform this kid's parents. Hope they care about it!