The Internet may be of a great use for kids. Handing them a tablet is a wonderful way to let them learn about everything they are interested in. Interactive games, ability to connect with classmates and quick access to the world of information are just great to develop social skills, collect knowledge and have some fun time. Still, the web is not exclusively about that. It may be a dark place for children, there are dangers parents should know about and learn how to deal with.
What can you do as a parent to ensure your kids are safe while surfing the Internet? First of all, learn about the dangers there are online. Adults, concerned about Internet safety create and follow communities all over the world. You can learn from their experience what safety measures you can provide.
General Internet Dangers Facts
According to AVG Technologies, 35% of children and 40% of teens under the age of 18 have encountered online dangers. 25% of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic materials. 1 in 33 kids received aggressive solicitation – they’ve been called on the phone or asked to meet in real life by online predators.
Sexually explicit content, especially pornographic materials carry much bigger threat, as children start to be sexually active too early. Those videos affect the way children perceive relationships between men and women and sexual intercourse as well. That may lead to abusive attitude towards women, neglecting protection measures, sadistic inclinations, etc.
Another important issue is securing personal information. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was created to protect kids under the age of 13. It requires websites to explain what personal information they are collecting from kids. Organization also prohibits asking for more personal details than needed for a kid to play games or participate in a survey. In fact, about 55% of kids believe that other people trying to get access to their personal information is the worst thing that could happen to them online. At the same time 75% of children are willing to share personal and family information online in exchange for goods and services.
Parents Engagement in Security Ensuring
Statistics at this point are quite shocking. 94% of parents throughout the globe believe they know what kids are doing online. They assume there is nothing inappropriate that might happen to their kids while they are surfing the web.
Many parents seem to be more careless about their kids’ security, with nearly two thirds, which is 62% of teens’ parents having no plans on educating children about risks and inappropriate content online they might or already have encountered. 12% of kids had accidentally seen disturbing pictures and videos on the web and 6% searched for it deliberately, 11% experienced online bullying and 8% met and talked to strangers on the internet.
Cyberbullying is much more dangerous than it may seem. There are cases of serious mental traumas and even suicide by victims of this crime.
44% of parents believe kids are sensible enough to sort out good from bad online, and 22% think it is too awkward to talk about disturbing content with their underage children. As surprising as it seems, about 46% of parents are unaware of their kids having social media profiles.
Among parents who do make steps to secure their kids’ online activities, 88% claim to install monitoring security software on their children’s devices. A big number or parents don’t do it because they are just not familiar with modern technologies and simply don’t know how to install such programs.
26% of kids between the age of 5 and 7 already have their own personal computer and smartphone and 17% are allowed to browse internet. And even though it is a common practice in modern world, parents should still realize how harmful it might be.
Are Teens Willing to Share with Parents?
58% of kids claim to use phones for internet surfing and spending more than two hours a day for this activity. And it is only 16% of parents using special software to monitor their teens’ usage of cell phones.
Over 50% of kids and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have been engaged in cyberbullying. But only 10 – 12% of kids ever confessed this to their parents.
Kids try to keep a distance – 51% claim to take measures to hide their online activities by clearing browser history or deleting messages and bookmarks; 17% stopped using laptops and switched to smartphones as long as parents are not aware of their passwords.
Still, even though teens are trying to keep their online activities private from parents, 83% of kids are concerned about their security. This coincides with 89% of parents believing their kids should take cybersecurity courses or trainings from professionals to ensure they know how to protect themselves.
The Bottom Line
Neglecting Internet security may lead not only to issues with children’s morality. There are a lot of criminals on the web. Yes, it may sound nonsense that a person can do horrible things by sitting in front of a monitor, but that is the unfortunate truth.
It is parents’ duty to provide measures of protection for their kids. Children should be educated by the adults: how to behave on the Internet, how to separate good intentions from bad ones, etc.