The World Wide Web is a great place for your children to find fun facts, stay in touch with family and friends, and keep up with school assignments, but it’s important that you are aware of the potential dangers. As a parent, you should set strict guidelines about which sites your children will be allowed to visit. With just a little guidance, your children can thrive from the knowledge they harness from the internet.
First things first: Make sure your family’s WiFi password is not something as easy as “1234.” Savvy internet crooks will crack that “code” in a heartbeat. Online gaming is not a game if you or your children are too lax about passwords when it comes to creating your account. Using the same keywords too frequently or using something as simple as a pet’s name or your address can lead to big trouble. This could unlock doors to identity theft, ransomware, and false charges for apps or games that you didn’t order. Thankfully, most reputable sites use MFA authentication, or multi-factor authentication, to establish distinct identification cues to gain access to websites or gaming sites. MFA requires you to present multiple pieces of evidence – your personal credentials – before you can log in to your account.
Your credentials typically are something you know, such as a password; something you have, like a smartphone; or something you are, maybe your fingerprint. But be creative when it comes to using passwords and use a unique password for each separate account. If you use the same password across multiple accounts, you could be compromised even if you use the most exceptional password possible. It is best to create strong password ideas and use them for all your accounts. Easy-to-remember phrases work best. Oh, and keep the list private.
Chat Room Dangers
You never know if 10-year-old “Kenzie” is really 10-year-old Kenzie – she just might be a 48-year-old man who could trick your child into revealing your home address. Photos can be faked, and even voices can be masked to hide a poster’s true identity. Chat rooms allow predators to put a child at ease and drop their guard. Desperate for a friend – especially one who appears a few years older and wiser and interested in their feelings – some children may not think anything is amiss about their newest “buddy” until they are completely entangled in the hunter’s web.
So, what can a parent do? Talk to your kid and ask who has been messaging them online. Always keep the lines of communication open, even if it means you’ll have to grit your teeth and listen to them go on and on about the game they are currently obsessed with. Look at this time spent as a peek into their developing personalities. And be sure to tell your children to never click on anything unless it comes from a trusted source. In addition, they should never give out personal information about themselves, their friends, or any family members. You cannot protect them against everything, but you can educate your children on the potential dangers of the internet, which can allow complete anonymity to shady characters of any age.
Web browsers designed for children allow younger surfers to search the internet safely without ending up in the darker corners of the internet. Adult-oriented pages, questionable content, and violent images will be omitted from their searches if you employ a trusted filtering method. While browsers for kids reduce the risk of accidental exposure, they cannot eliminate intentional exposure altogether. You can also adjust the settings on your computer’s search engine for all of the browsers your kids use. For added security, you can also use tools provided by your Internet Service Provider as well as setting parental controls on your computer rating system. This strategy can also be broadened to include your cable TV guide and Netflix account.
As a careful parent, you must take the time to read, read, read about the websites your children are visiting. Investigate their validity and use your common sense – follow the links! Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on anything that makes you as a parent uncomfortable. It all comes down to this: You are the parent, not their friend. You are the only guardian between your child and the evil that lurks in the hearts of men – or women.
About the Author
Paisley Hansen is a loving mother of three children. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling part of her life. When she’s not out with her kids, you can find her at the gym or curled up with a good book.