Children on the Internet: What do I need to know?

The use of technology is continuously molding our society, routines, beliefs. It has brought great convenience, but also the challenges of its own. Children are currently using the devices much more than before. The rules and limitations are shifting daily. Parental concerns are increasing too. No wonder the internet is still mostly unknown to us, and with the haste of its expansion, knowing right or wrong is hard. Actually, the American Family Survey has found that 53% of parents report overuse of technology as their biggest concern. Furthermore, 84% of parents around the globe told Kaspersky they are worried about their children’s online safety. Why are they worried? What are the solutions? This is what we found.

What are parents afraid of?

Unlimited access to different communities
This is, at the same time, irreplaceable benefit and reasonable threat. Social media and the Internet removed the borders, making it easier for people to socialize, meet ones with similar interests, make friends. However, for, let’s say, teens who suffer depression, on the Internet they can find support, but more often than not, these networks only alleviate the issue. Also, meeting people through platforms may have a harmful effect if not done properly.

Seeing harmful or inappropriate contents
Parents are most afraid of their children seeing sexual or violent materials online. Depending on age, this may be something affecting the child’s development and thinking. Numerous studies show that children exposed to the violence as observers of any form are way more likely to express such behavior themselves. Another concern is receiving anonymous messages or threats online. Aside from stress, in an immature individual, such a call can lead to dangerous actions as well.

Internet addiction
According to Kaspersky, 2 in 3 parents worry their children spend too much time on the Internet. Addiction of any sort is a destructive habit. Whether it’s alcohol, smoking, or just social media. However, another problem here is skipping on some other childhood joys necessary for successful mental and physical development. Going outside, reading a book, playing with a friend shouldn’t be traded for screen time.

How to keep children safe on the Internet?

Talking through it
Although parents are highly concerned, more than 58% of them spend less than 30 minutes throughout the whole childhood to talk about this issue. There is no better way for a family to overcome this and prevent the issues. It’s easier said than done, however. Children start using devices early on nowadays. Even owning gadgets with internet access is becoming common at a very young age. It’s hard to take the right position, to approach them effectively. They should be explained what exists out there- inappropriate sites, scams, viruses, etc. You should teach them how to make friends online and how not to. Also, they need to be shown the proper way of using social media, without imposing restrictions or prohibitions, as those are counter-effective. Remember that a dialogue, repetition, and agreement is what guarantees the success in digital era upbringing.

Installing a protective system
Consider buying a protective software for your family devices, or your children’s. Those can be set up to block the inappropriate content, preventing them from accessing. Along with anti-malware systems, this special software would help you in online presence education, while letting your loved ones enjoy the benefits of the Internet.