Internet Safety Tips for Kids in the Time of Coronavirus
We are living in challenging times. Our lives have been upended by COVID-19. It’s not business as usual. A third of the global population is under lockdown and, as things stand, this figure will increase. This means that your kids are at home and attending online study sessions. Your kids are also likely spending more time on the internet, not only to support their learning, but also to entertain themselves.
The internet is turning into a savior in these challenging times, and to be honest, it is keeping us connected with the outside world and making lockdowns a little bit bearable for all of us. It’s incredibly difficult for these reasons to ask your kids not to spend time on the internet. Yes, asking them to read books and spend time playing board games, help around the house, and such is the right thing to do. But they will invariably find their way back to the internet.
Why should you worry?
The truth is that the internet is a not a very safe place for kids, which is why privacy watchdogs are coming up with stricter regulations to protect children online. There is a danger that children might strike up a conversation with strangers on social media sites. This can result in them sharing personal details with those strangers, which can then be used against them or their parents. As a parent, you should also be concerned about cyberbullying, which has become a huge problem in recent times. The anonymity afforded by the internet, the public audience, and the safety has resulted in cases of serious online harassment.
Another problem with giving kids unfettered access to the internet is that they might stumble upon harmful content – meaning content that is inappropriate for them. Also, there is a strong chance they will access malicious websites that can infect PCs with malware, resulting in cybercriminals accessing sensitive information on your computer (data breach). After all, adults fall victim to malicious sites all the time. Kids are just as vulnerable, if not more so.
All this can be avoided if you exercise parental web control.
Implementing parental web control
Think of this control from two different perspectives:
Parent counseling perspective: Children are as concerned and as inquisitive about the coronavirus and its impact on their community and the world as you are. They are bound to use the internet to understand more about the situation they find themselves in. Also, they are bound to get bored cooped in their homes, trying to ride out the lockdown any which way they can. The internet is seen as the cure for that boredom, and they will inevitably begin browsing. So, have an extensive and open discussion with them regarding the dos and don’ts of surfing the web, and the danger they might encounter online.
Also, share online resources with them which will give them the information they are looking for. This will ensure they do not land up somewhere dangerous, like a phishing website. And, check up on the online resources they are accessing for education purposes and the kind of entertainment channels they are browsing frequently. This helps you stay on top of their browsing habits.
Of course, there is still a chance that they will mistakenly access sites they shouldn’t be accessing. Accidents happen even with the right education beforehand. This is where the second control perspective comes into play.
Securing your PC with parental web control: Deploy an antivirus solution that goes much beyond traditional options to offer comprehensive protection against advanced malware, like ransomware or phishing attacks. It must also have focused features that help you control what your children can view online and what they can’t. You’ll want to be able to select filtering categories around inappropriate content, adult content, or social networking sites and blogs. The proverbial ‘keys to the kingdom’ should be in your hands always. The use of parental web control ensures this remains the case.
Wrapping it up
There is no doubting the difficulty of exercising strict parental web control during these difficult times. It’s a hard time to be excessively strict about internet use and access. Your children have limited choice when it comes to keeping themselves busy. So, the onus of ensuring their safety is in your hands – the right education and tools can help keep you and your family secure during this difficult period.