Digital security: how to protect your children from the dangers of the internet?

With the increasing use of digital devices by children and adolescents, the family’s challenge to protect their children from the Internet also grows. Check out!

Even representing an excellent tool for learning, fun, interaction, and leisure, the web hides numerous dangers, which makes this concern of parents inevitable.

But how can the family guide a conscious and safe use? How do carry out healthy monitoring of Internet searches and searches? How do prevent these accesses from bringing risks? With that in mind, we’ve brought some tips to help you deal with this process better.

Keep reading and check out some suggestions!

Talk to your child and advise on privacy

The most important thing is dialogue. We can’t always keep a close eye on what our kids are doing on the computer, especially as they age. Therefore, it is essential that there is openness to talk about the type of behavior and people to be avoided on the networks.

In addition, as far as possible, try to keep up with the content that your child is accessing, such as games,  various applications, and, especially, social networks, which are places where he can interact with other people, often unknown.

Facebook is a  social network that is widely accessed by children because despite the restrictive terms of use — only people over 13 years of age can create an account — it is quite simple to circumvent this mechanism.

Use practices that facilitate your monitoring

Some practices help parents to be able to monitor their children’s access to the Internet closely. Check out:

  • Install the computer in a place where you can check and monitor its activities;
  • Have access to all your child’s passwords;
  • Check your computer’s history regularly ;
  • Ask him which environments/sites/social networks he likes to access the most;
  • Also, check if he has already found any environment/site/social network he didn’t like. Find out why not.

Enforce limits on the use of Internet-enabled devices

It is essential that there is monitoring and guidance. Although no child or young person likes it, setting limits, schedules, and agreement, are measures that collaborate for safer navigation, without exaggeration, and that even ensure time for other activities of interest to your child or that are considered essential. For the development of their potential and abilities.

In addition to the issue of time dedicated to digital environments, several studies have also linked continuous exposure to the Internet with increased anxiety, depression and addictions in people under 25 years of age, as pointed out by the  Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Based on this, it is suggested that parents define the hours of the day when they can be around and have some availability to monitor their children and even accompany them in some study or leisure activity.

Socio-emotional skills make a difference in the future of children and adolescents.

Guide your child in accessing websites and sharing data

If you find anything suspicious in history or searches, educate your child and speak clearly about the dangers he is exposed to with this type of behavior. Poorly informed browsers are more prone to information theft, virus propagation, publication of private information, exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and moral harassment, among other risks. If you know real stories that have happened, you can even use them as an example to guide.

Regarding the mailbox, I advise you not to open emails from unknown senders as they could be spam or viruses. Make it clear to your child that, on the Internet, he also needs to be careful with strangers and with what he publishes and accesses. Precautions must be pretty large, as they are in real life.

Concerning personal safety, you should always consider the information your child provides. For younger children, set this information such as an address, phone number, and date of birth. Remember that it is not always easy to recover data once it is online.

In addition, care extends to sending personal photos, videos, and even WhatsApp messages. He must know that these contents can be forwarded and viewed by anyone.

As the Internet leaves anyone’s image fully exposed, the key is ensuring your child understands the basics of good online behavior, including thinking about the impact of posting a photo or comment.

Install firewalls, antivirus, and content filters

For your digital devices to be protected and your child’s exposure to inappropriate content to be avoided, you must take some security measures. First, remember to install firewalls and antivirus on all equipment.

Firewalls are a barrier or protection against the dangers of so-called malware (a type of malicious code or program that hides on your system to steal data). Firewalls monitor data to see if it is secure or not. Antivirus are programs designed to prevent, search for, detect and remove viruses or malicious software such as malware.

Indeed, applications alone will not protect your child from accessing certain content. Therefore, they need to be associated with content filters, whose algorithms can help define or delimit the content available to your child, excluding access to web pages or emails considered objectionable.

These filters work by specifying patterns of content ― such as text or photos ― that, if combined, indicate undesirable content. A content filter can block access to this content in different digital environments, extending to social networks.

Encourage your child’s autonomy on the internet.

Protecting children does not mean banning access to the Internet. On the contrary, it is necessary to encourage and promote their autonomy for the devices’ intended use in relation to the appropriate websites and applications and their own behavior and responsibility online.

The digital security you are looking for for your child lies in increasing their awareness of how they work and how to act ethically and responsibly in virtual environments. Here are some practical tips for this.

Set boundaries with clear explanations

We are in the digital age, and online communication is commonplace. Remember that most of your child’s peers in your social circle are likely to use it—even at school.

So, set limits and enforce rules online. Provide a list of safe sites they can visit and explain why other sites are inappropriate.

Teach safe online interaction

To what extent do children know the people they are interacting with? Help your child consider who they are talking to and what information they share online.

Discuss the things he shouldn’t share on social media; remind him that everything stays on the Internet forever. In the case of messaging applications, such as Messenger and WhatsApp, it is important to remember that your chats are not 100% private, so be careful.

Find a plan in case something goes wrong.

If your child notices something strange, such as having contact with someone who asks a lot of personal questions or even suggesting something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they need to know how to react.

At the slightest sign of an invasion of privacy, ask your child to stop contact and let you know. His attitude, in turn, cannot be of mere rebuke, but rather of understanding of the case. If necessary, contact a cybercrime police station and report what is happening.

And you, what did you think of this post on how to protect children from the Internet? These are measures that help to allow a healthy use of the computer and the Internet , avoiding exposure to dangers.