The internet is not called the World Wide Web for nothing. It allows us to gain access to a vast amount of information with the simple click of a mouse button. With social media taking the world by storm and making connections online all part of today’s generation, it has also made the internet an incredibly scary place, what with the amount of real life information we now store online, including credit card information as well as our addresses.
This has opened children up to a new kind of threat in many regards, and without supervision, children can uncover some ghastly things as well as leave themselves open to threats. Below are 5 Dangers of Letting Kids Go Online Unsupervised
Facebook, Twitter, text message and email are the standard ways of communication for children nowadays. With this comes instantaneous gratification regarding being able to be in touch with someone.
Sadly it also allows for instant virtual bullying, as culprits of online bullying can be just one friend request or follow away from virtually abusing your child. It has made it a lot easier now for this to be done, so the best bet is to ensure your child doesn’t spend too much time on social networks, and only find and add their real friends; certainly not little Johnnie, who they don’t really like for the promise of a free chocolate, cause that is probably going to end in little Johnnie making that offer for the wrong reasons – and could end up with a tirade of unnecessary and unwarranted bullying.
Sadly the internet has also become a stomping ground for predators, so ensuring your child isn’t surfing the internet and engaging with complete strangers will allow for them to be safe.
As mentioned it is very easy for people to find your information online depending on your privacy settings, so make sure you and your family are protected and privacy settings are on as high a possible level when your child is surfing. It is not a sure fire way of stopping these kind of people, but it should offer you some breather from worry about your child’s every click.
Accessing the deepest and darkest corners of the internet may also bring on the threat of viruses and Trojans on your computer, which you should take steps to guard against. We as adults know clicking on the very dubious ad that says “You have a friend request on Facebook” is a bad idea, however your child may not feel the same way. So ensure you are protected to the hilt, as getting Trojans which may track your every keystroke and mouse click would not be ideal.
At the end of the day, spending time with your child whilst they use the internet can be a good bonding experience, as you can learn common interests and help educate them on the ways of the WWW. But should you wish to offer them some independence, and ensuring your computer has fail safes to ensure they don’t come across unwanted content is certainly the way to go.
You will never be able to protect your child from seeing or doing things online that they shouldn’t, but teaching them from an early age what they should and shouldn’t be doing will definitely help with their usage, and also help to keep them that little bit safer.
4. Mature content
The world wide web is full of content meant for a mature audience, from movie trailers which are banned in cinemas for their adult nature (being violent, strong language and nudity) to music, which has crude and non-PC lyrics, to pornography.
With highly graphic content only being a Google search away, it is incredibly easy for your child to stumble onto content of an adult nature. Helping your child with their homework or surfing is a good way to help monitor what they are looking for, and safety tools should be implemented on your computer, just to ensure that there aren’t any unwanted surprises awaiting your child when they do search for something online.
As most adults now shop online and mostly store their credit card details with their favourite suppliers, this leaves your money in the hands of your child. Should they log in to a site you frequent which has your details stored, don’t be surprised when a new 50 inch plasma TV rocks up on your doorstep. This also could open the door for scammers who send mail requests for personal information to get to your child as they spam just about everyone.
Sadly applications like Twitter as well as Foursquare could leave your house under threat, what with children feeling the urge to write things such as “Home alone for the next few hours as the parents are watching a movie”, and then checking in to “My House” on Foursquare could leave anyone interested online from finding your home and possibly invading it.
Highly improbable, maybe, but stranger things have happened especially if your child has been approached on Foursquare by someone they don’t know (or someone they think they may know).
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by AVG and I hope that being aware of these 5 Dangers of Letting Kids Go Online Unsupervised will help you keep your kids safe.