The Internet is a powerful tool. Another powerful tool is the circular saw. You wouldn’t give your kid a circular saw and let them use it without any supervision. In the same way, you shouldn’t let your kid use the Internet unsupervised and without any training.
Here are three dangers of the Internet that you need to safeguard your kid from. Most of these dangers can be neutralized by taking an active role in overseeing a child’s Internet activity and training them on how to properly use this powerful tool.
Thanks to the Internet, bullies have the capability to exert their hate-filled influence beyond the schoolyard and to the computer screen in your home. By nature, bullies are miserable cowards and the anonymity afforded them by the Internet gives them the kind of platform they crave to spew hate and tear down the confidence of others. Since so many applications on the Internet have built-in social capabilities, only an extreme amount of monitoring can totally shield your child from cyberbullying.
A good solution that will protect your kid from cyberbullies is to teach them how to deal with the bully problem. Kids need to learn how to not play into what a bully wants by refraining from engaging them. Train your kid to quickly block a cyberbully’s online account at the first sign of a red flag. It’s also vital that the victim of cyberbullying “tells on the bully” by getting their parents involved. Either the kid or the parent should report the bully’s activities to the system admin so that appropriate censorship actions can be taken.
One of the scariest things about the Internet is that it connects kids with real people who are wanting to harm them, abduct them, or worse. You don’t necessarily have to share with your kids all the scary things that these Internet strangers want to do to them; however, it’s a good idea to make your kids aware that there are a lot of “bad people” on the Internet. Therefore, they need to be extra careful when interacting with an online stranger. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing personal details like what school they go to and where they live (a huge “no no”).
Parents also need to be aware of their own online posting practices and be sure to not share too much information about their children. For example, many digital pictures contain geotracking information that can alert a predator to the exact location of where the photo was taken. A committed predator could easily compile a file with all the photos that you post of your kid and figure out your family’s day-to-day routine. Compiling image information like this can direct a predator to your kid’s school, classroom, and even bedroom.
Don’t Believe Everything on the Internet
There’s a ton of information on the Internet and not all of it is true. Part of the responsibility of instructing a kid on how to use the Internet is teaching them how to discern fact from fiction. Teaching a kid how to corroborate and validate online information is a great life lesson that will carry over into the real world and make them good students of life.
The Internet can be a dangerous and a scary place, but it can also be a powerful tool that can help your child grow, network, and learn life skills. Remember our earlier example of the circular saw? With proper oversight and training, a kid can learn how to use a circular saw and become a master carpenter. In the same way, a child can learn how to utilize the Internet to achieve great things. To learn about more tips and online tools that will help keep your kiddies safe from the worst of the web, give Think Tank NTG a call at 800-501-DATA.
Bonus Parenting Tip!
There are a lot of great software solutions available that will help protect your kids from the dangers of the Internet, but technology can’t substitute being involved in your kid’s life. Leaving a child alone for hours on end with an Internet-connected device is a sure bet to expose them to all the risks we mentioned here and more. An active parent will fill their child’s schedule with wholesome activities that will keep them from spending time interacting with online stranger dangers.
Do you have any additional parenting tips of your own that you use to keep your children safe from the dangers of the Internet? Share with us your tips in the comments and let’s make the Internet a safer place for our kids!