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Screenagers & Safe Surfing: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online



Children today have unparalleled access to information thanks to digital devices like tablets, laptops, and smartphones. These tools are not just for entertainment; they're integral for education and social interaction. However, the ubiquity of these devices also attracts cybercriminals looking to exploit, harm, and steal from unsuspecting users. This makes it crucial for families to engage in continuous dialogue about the importance of safe internet practices. To prevent cyberbullying and improve online safety for children, parents should take steps to improve their children's cybersecurity skills. Here are ways to keep kids safe.


Internet Safety Tips for Parents

1 Understanding the Major Threats

When addressing cybersecurity within the family, children can inadvertently become vulnerabilities due to their limited awareness of internet risks. While it's not necessary to detail the threats of online predators, educating them on identifying malicious software and steering clear of dubious online behaviors is crucial for their safety.

Since understanding and recognizing online threats is a continual learning process, it's important to foster an environment where they feel comfortable seeking assistance when faced with unusual online scenarios. Knowing they have a supportive resource in you might encourage them to reach out with their concerns more freely.

2 Set Clear Rules

To initiate a conversation with your child about the household's rules for internet usage, here are some strategies to begin:

  • Set clear expectations regarding the timing and duration of internet use. Balanced screen time for kids will help prevent many negative psychological consequences.

  • Establish guidelines for handling personal details (such as name, address, phone number, and email)

  • Talk about the importance of respectful interactions during online activities like gaming, chatting, emailing, or messaging

  • Teach your child to use VPN. Even better is to use a double VPN from VeePN, which prevents data theft and decryption. After activating the VPN, they become anonymous, protected and can freely view educational materials even from other countries.

  • Determine together which websites and online activities align with your family values

  • Lead by example by adhering to these guidelines or transparently explain any adult exceptions.

3 Choose Strong Passwords

Passwords serve as the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your accounts. However, it's all too common for individuals to recycle a singular password across several platforms, choosing convenience over security by opting for passwords that are simple to recall but equally simple for cyber attackers to crack.

Educating the younger generation on the formulation of secure passwords is crucial. Impress upon them the importance of avoiding easily decipherable choices such as recognizable words, clichéd phrases, or directly personal data, including contact details or names of close relatives. Encourage the construction of passwords that span a minimum of 12 characters and incorporate a mix of:

  • Uppercase and lowercase letters

  • Numerals

  • Special characters

4 Avoid Disclosing Personal Information

For younger kids, a basic guideline is they shouldn't share their name, contact information, or pictures unless they have permission from a parent or guardian. For teens on social media platforms such as Facebook, it's important to teach them to think carefully about what kind of personal details and images they make public. Even with privacy measures in place, anything posted online can potentially become public, escaping your control over who views it or how it's utilized. It is also wise to activate a VPN when using the Internet to prevent data from slipping away unseen. VPN protects against leaks of information, passwords and other Internet data, even on public Wi-Fi networks.




5 Monitor Online Activities

Keeping an eye on your children's offline activities can already feel like a full-time job, but ensuring their online safety adds another layer of concern. Fortunately, there are a variety of cybersecurity solutions available to assist you in supervising their digital interactions. By setting up cybersecurity applications featuring parental controls on your youngsters' gadgets, you can:

  • Restrict access to specific app functionalities.

  • Monitor their whereabouts.

  • Secure a backup of their information.

  • Regulate the amount of time they spend staring at screens.

6 Don’t Be Too Critical

Children can inadvertently encounter inappropriate content online. Similarly, they might deliberately seek out such content, driven by natural curiosity towards forbidden topics. This scenario presents an opportunity for open dialogue about such materials. It's also a chance to establish guidelines regarding internet usage. It's important to have a practical understanding of your child's online activities.

Conclusion

Some parents expect their children to learn everything on their own. Yes, they can do it themselves, but they will make many mistakes, including those that can leave a scar on their inner man. The task of parents is to reduce the number of mistakes and teach how to counteract cyber threats.


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