Young children growing up today are exposed to various forms of technology at a much earlier age than previous generations. Due to this early exposure, children can develop a far greater level of technical proficiency. This, in turn, means that even younger children can have the capacity to delete parental control apps or skirt their way around other monitoring methods. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques and practices as well as cutting edge technology which can aid in prevention while also raising awareness for both parent and child.
Approaching a tech-savvy child with parental control
There are several ways you can deal with your child’s advanced technological prowess. One of the best ways would be to make the topic of parental control open to discussion. This is especially relevant if the child is of a certain age where they are old enough to understand the risks to their safety from online interactions, such as a teenager who could follow detailed explanations of cybercriminal activity. According to Komdigit Norton Family Premier has a feature that allows children to request access to a blocked site or a house rule by sending a note to parents.
Norton Family Parental Control cannot be easily bypassed and has a hands-on parental software management dashboard. It allows parents to see how frequently your kids login to Facebook, and even the name they use on their profiles. Parents can see the phrases their children are searching for which can help protect but also learn about their interests.
Opening up a discussion
The important thing to keep in mind is that you, as a parent, have a strong positive influence over your child. Communication is key here and you can initiate a conversation with your children about what they are passionate about online. While engaging with them over content or subject matter that they like, you should likewise explain all the potential dangers of at-risk online behavior.
Setting time limits online
Another key factor is developing correct habits with children that will limit the amount of time spent engaging in online activity, their screen time. If you wish to minimize potential risks it is imperative that time allowances are imposed and adhered to. Hours of unsupervised web surfing is the last thing you’ll want your child to be doing.
However, time isn’t the only factor, it’s also about personal space. Children should be taught how to be courteous online, but also how to avoid sharing too much personal information, citing The Green Child. As parents, it is your responsibility to set specific criteria for what information children can and cannot share online. And if restrictions are in place then its equally important to explain the reasons why revealing crucial information can lead to potential issues, if your child is old enough to understand.
Know your child’s online friends
Children have far more socializing options online than they did in decades past. For this reason, their social interaction online must be monitored with the same kind of scrutiny it would be in everyday life. It is potentially more dangerous to leave a child socially unsupervised on the web than it is in real-world encounters with other people. This is due to the fact that children are typically grouped with peers in their real-world encounters such as at school or at sports activities.
Generally speaking, parents are strongly discouraged from allowing young children, especially those under primary school age, to be present on social media. Many nefarious and criminal elements can frequent these outlets. Young children, if they are active through social messaging apps, should be given access to the child-friendly variants provided by the system. Facebook messenger has developed a by-invitation-only version of its messenger app that suits this purpose well.
Parents are likewise vehemently discouraged from allowing young children to use video call apps unsupervised. This includes streaming services such as Twitch.tv, an online site where gamers can live stream their gameplay and engage with fellow players as well.
Understanding child-centered cybercrime
The unfortunate reality is that there is a plethora of internet-based crimes that center around children. Parents should have a working knowledge of these criminal types so that they can keep a close eye on their children and their exposure to these untoward practices. The Federal Bureau of Investigation keeps an open info-base on all things concerning child-related cybercrime. Of the most common types of criminal activity online, sex crimes are right at the top of the list. The abuse and exploitation of minors online can be divided into two categories – contact and non-contact.
It is important for parents to always keep in mind that cybercriminals can and will utilize social media outlets and all available video conferencing platforms to prey on unsuspecting children. Keeping a close eye on how your child interacts and uses these popular platforms should be high on the prevention list.
Parents should be especially cautious of apps such as Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, FaceTime, Kik, etc. Younger children should be either discouraged or have no personal access to any of the above platforms while primary-school-age children should likely only have limited, heavily monitored access.
The reason for these criteria guidelines is not completely simple. One might think an 18-year-old child would be mature and responsible enough to use a chat app without adult supervision. This is often true, but due to the current online-based nature of dating and relationships, teenagers between the ages of 15-18 are potentially at greater risk of being victimized than their younger counterparts. It is for this reason that a parent’s council and continued observation of how a child behaves when using social media or instant messaging applications is imperative. A teenager can be exposed to cyberbullying, sextortion (which can include coercion under the threat of a computer virus or blackmail in the form of pornographic material), and other cybercrimes such as financial scams or even cult/gang recruitment. Teenagers are highly technically savvy. For this reason, they can access the dark and deep web, which puts them at a higher criminal risk.
Get involved, do everything that is in your power as a parent to make sure your child is safe online. Don’t worry your parental instincts will guide you, help you establish better communication with your kid and even make you learn new things.