As a single parent, I’m constantly worried about what my children are exposed to on internet. And if you’re a regular web surfer, you don’t need me to tell you about the various kinds of explicit material found on the web. As a parent or a guardian, it is your duty to fully understand the different ways of staying safe online. This is important not only for your children’s sake, but also for your own peace of mind – in the long run.
And trust me when I tell you, pornography is the least of your worries when it comes to the internet of today.
There are other – and far more sinister – types of web content out there that you constantly need to guard your kids against. Because these may leave a lasting impact. And if you don’t have a comfortable ‘heart to heart’ relationship with your children, it’s very likely that you’ll miss the signs of their influence.
I’m talking about deep-rooted psychological changes here, which can greatly limit your kids’ chances of success and mental health in life. An issue, which I need to honestly admit, often proves to be stressful enough to keep me awake at night.
So the first step in ensuring internet safety for children comes in the form of having a healthy emotional relationship with them. Because if they don’t really like or respect you (on a personal level), they probably won’t be willing to take your advice. No matter how well-intentioned it may be.
Staying Safe Online – Internet dangers that you need to be aware of!
Now that we’ve identified the danger that the unfiltered internet poses for our children, it’s important to list this issue by number. The following are some of the most pressing online dangers that I can think of. And these are also the ones that I take special care in having my web security software censor on a priority basis.
I’m sure that you can think of many others – based on the kinds of content that you find particularly objectionable for your kids.
Internet safety for children should be a priority concern of all parents. And so the first step towards addressing this problem is to identify its causes.
1. Instances of Explicit, Foul Language
If you have a Facebook (or any other social media) account, you should know full well the kinds of foul language that people commonly use online. Many social media users, horribly enough, don’t know how to string a sentence together without swearing. In this way, the internet serves as a ‘rite of passage’ for many youngsters going through their adolescent phases. And not, as you’ll be able to understand, in a good way.
So for staying safe online, you should use a powerful language-filtering service like Net Nanny on your home network. Doing so will also restrict any pornographic web pages – as these normally come full of many suggestive terms. On a personal note, I’m lucky that my Frontier Internet plan automatically takes care of this concern – so I don’t need to invest in any additional software.
A lot of narrow-minded political or social commentary is also filtered out in this way.
2. Pornographic and Gory Websites
The American porn industry is a thriving business which pulls in billions of dollars every year. And the most heart-breaking thing about this ‘success’ is that it often comes at the cost of our children’s developing minds. Many kids in the country suffer from porn addiction, which like any other addiction, leads to many negative consequences. ‘Stunted’ character and sexual development is certainly one of them. And these issues, in turn, lead to many other growing-up problems like social isolation, and failing school grades.
So keeping a watch out for pornographic websites should be a starting point of any good staying safe online regimen.
3. Strangers Posing as Children
I don’t know if you have this problem, but my kids certainly like to chat around a lot. And this is something for which I constantly need to put my foot down. Because I know for a fact that a lot of the strangers that they randomly end up meeting online are actually a bunch of perverts. And this category of cybercriminals severely seek to damage your internet safety for children concerns.
One good way of minimizing this problem is to stop your kids completely from making any contact with such friends. Another may be to put a good software block on all online chat applications on your home network.
Internet Safety for Children Should Be an Ongoing Concern
Your children’s online safety – ideally speaking – should be a lifelong concern. Because internet predators are unlikely to call it quits anytime soon.
And so, for the sake of your kids, you need to get smarter at this game.