You don’t have to be a parent to understand that the internet can be a dangerous place. The web is often a hub for cyberbullying, sexting, identity theft, scammers, and phishers. Anything you share online is never truly anonymous or private, and is at risk of being stolen or shared without your consent.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2015, about 71 percent of children ages 3 to 18 used the internet. Of that, 86 percent used the internet at home. Since 2010, the percentage of children ages 3 and 4 have spiked dramatically, from 19 percent to 39 percent of those children who use the internet at home.
Figure 1: Percentage of children ages 3 to 18 who used the Internet from home, by selected child and family characteristics: 2010 and 2015. (nces.ed.gov)
Security.org recently released a guide(hyperlink) for you to use when keeping tabs on your child’s internet usage or if you’re looking to start a conversation with them about internet safety. Here’s what they recommend:
- Warn them that should their friendship or relationship fall through, there is a predisposition for images or messages to be shared by the recipient.
- Contact your mobile provider and explore the parental controls that are available.
- If you believe that your child is being cyber-bullied, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Avoidance of computers, mobile devices, or cell phone.
- Looking distressed after receiving phone calls or texts.
- Abnormal sleeping/eating habits.
- Taking a different route or method to/from school.
- Finding excuses to stay home from school.
- Worsening grades or athletic performance.
- Symptoms of depression, fear, or low-self esteem develop.
- To help your child, make it clear to them that you are available to talk about any issues they may be having.
Protecting credit card information:
- Do not store your card information online where it can be easily accessed by your children or others.
- Do not make it easy for your children to make in-app or other online purchases by saving your card information.
- If you choose to trust your child with your card information, set limitations as to what apps or sites they are allowed to make purchases from.
- Help your child decide whether or not a website is trustworthy so that they are not tempted to share personal information with others based off of emails or social media messages.
For more information about protecting your child from internet risks, visit Security.org.