During the past two decades, the Internet has shaped the way we go about our everyday tasks, how we approach our work or learning processes, and how we interact with one another. In a nutshell, with its rapid involvement, technology has not only become an inevitable part of our lives, but it has improved its many aspects. In fact, technology has become an excellent source of amusement and cognitive development exercises for our children.
As parents, we have ample sources of animation on our tech devices ready for our youngest ones’ entertainment and learning exercises. When they are little, we monitor the content they consume online and guide their learning process, but it’s only natural we will not always be able to monitor every second of their online behaviour.
Our research has shown that parents are only comfortable letting kids 12 and older surf the Internet unsupervised. However, you should start preparing your kids for that moment much earlier. So, it’s time we discuss how to manage the transition – how to prepare our kids for being online without our constant supervision.
Talk to Your Kids About Cybersecurity and Online Threats
We all want our kids to take full advantage of the learning opportunities the Internet has to offer, but how do we achieve that without compromising their cybersecurity?
The best trick you can pull is educating them on the matter. Sit down with your child at an early stage of their introduction to the world of the Internet and guide them by explaining where the possible threats hide. By being open and having prepared explanations about online scams, safe browsing, why we need to secure our emails, what is malware and so on, you’ll not only educate your child on the matter, but encourage their critical thinking and independence, thus winning half the battle.
Look at the Internet From Your Kids’ Perspective
The Internet is the world’s playground, a place anyone will find something to suit their interests no matter their age. In order to understand how much your children know about the Internet, and be able to guide them properly, rather than being invasive by going through their devices and losing their trust, try getting to know your kids’ perspective. Let your kids tell you and teach you about their favourite sites, what apps they use, who they subscribe to on YouTube, who they talk to online, in order to learn about their online habits. Once you do, it’s easy to suggest changes or introduce them to things they would like.
Parental Control Software to Monitor Kids’ Online Behaviour
We are completely aware you cannot hover over your kids at all times and monitor their online behaviour in order to protect them from malicious threats. But, what if we told you there are software solutions that can act as online guardians that monitor your kids’ behaviour regardless of what device they access the Internet from? Sounds like a dream? We thought so.
These software solutions can control the amount of time the device is connected to the Internet, report unusual online activities, keep track of the websites your kids have visited, and block any malicious websites.
With an online guardian, you can introduce your kids to the Internet in a safe way, making sure they stay clear of the dangers that lurk around the Internet.
Make Sure Your Kids’ Devices Have Antivirus Solution Installed
Children are curious beings and it is only understandable they will click on random links, or try to download a game from an unreliable source. While it’s good to teach kids which websites you can trust and which you shouldn’t, sometimes it is hard to tell whether those links are malicious or not.
To make the teaching process easier and less time orientated, it’s a good idea to check reliable companies that offer a good antivirus solution that will do a real-time scanning, firewall and automatic updates.
Install Anti-Malware Solution
With the exponential development of technology and the process of digitization, the threats looming around the net have increased too. It is no wonder the antivirus protection might not be enough to protect you against all the malware you’ll encounter during your online time. These can appear as pop-ups all over the screen, randomly opening new tabs, slowdown issues etc.
Since these types of malware infections are most often than not of an explicit nature, kids might not feel confident enough to bring up the issue to you. Our research has shown that 66% of girls and 67% of boys would be exposed to inappropriate content without parental protection.
We say, better safe than sorry, so look to invest in some of the anti-malware solutions as an extra layer of protection.
Keep Software Up to Date
We all been guilty (at least once) for postponing those software updates, quite possibly without being aware of the pitfall this could have brought on us. But software updates are rather important, as they often contain critical security patches that guard your devices against any threat. Cybercriminals continuously breach our security by exploring the security flaws of our devices’ software, so it is best we update them whenever the software update is available.
Check the operating system of your kids’ devices to see if there are any software updates available. Pay attention to desktop apps, browsers, plugins etc. Alternatively, talk to your children and let them know what security updates are, and how important they indeed are. Let them tell you when the next update is ready to be installed.
Last but not least
We’ve talked before about the general steps you should take to teach your kids code of conduct when it comes to the world of the Internet. As our kids get older, it’s also important to instil in them a healthy level of scepticism when signing up for new services or making online purchases. Teach them that rather than just blindly accepting the terms and conditions, they should take a moment to evaluate the quality of the sites they’re visiting. Encourage them to ask themselves if the website they want to download a file from is legitimate or a scam, if their security would be breached, and that they can always come to you to check together if a certain feature is safe to use.
As parents, we should take a moment to think about how to guide our kids through the process of learning about the importance of online safety and security. So, go through our list, check all the boxes and start teaching your kids about the Internet, its good sides, and the bad ones.
This article is part of our series on Generation Alpha
We seek to provide answers to your most pressing questions about keeping your kids safe online, introducing them to the digital world, and helping them be their authentic selves online.
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