The internet is as beautiful as it is dangerous. The fast communication and smooth operability are definitely advantages we couldn’t possibly imagine living without now. That said, we also have to appreciate the fact that the internet is representative of the real world. It has its good and bad aspects
The word here is trust. Children basically view the world as a friendly place to explore. Ever let your kid out to play and other kids of their age came along? What happened? Of course they got on with play unless they had been specifically warned not to. Even that sometimes doesn’t work.
Kids are very trusting. All the prejudices, right or wrong that adults have come mostly from life experiences. That unfortunately does not hold true for children. They are simply not equipped with the discerning capability to determine what is appropriate all the time.
None of us would let our kids stroll in unsecure places, right? That should similarly hold true for the internet. This is because; any danger that exists in real life is also most likely present online. Additionally, there is the increased threat of would be criminals working anonymously or from remote locations. This just goes to show how children are particularly vulnerable.
So, what are some of these risks that kids might encounter online? Let’s look at some of the most common dangers that your kinds might encounter:
This is a deep problem that many aren’t even aware of. Children, particularly in their early teenage years, are most vulnerable. According to research by Internetsafety101.org, about a third of children have been victims, mostly at the hands of their age-mates.
Virtual gaming and social media have put a lot of kids in the crosshairs. For instance, a kid with a disability like Down’s syndrome can be mercilessly mocked by others online. These incessant attacks can be very humiliating for a person at that stage of psychological development.
A lot of times these kids are not even aware of the heartache they cause until it blows up through unfortunate incidents like suicide.
The tool of choice for pedophiles seeking to lure victims is naturally the internet. This way they can lure them easily into very dangerous personal encounters. Besides, online platforms can be an avenue for gaining a child’s trust without being seen by parents or guardians. Some of these predators stalk kids on social media or gaming sites which are popular with kids.
Unfortunately, these predators are usually very sophisticated and a kid will only notice things are amiss when it’s too late. For parents, there is no precaution too big to take in this regard. Child abuse can result in lifelong scars that are devastating for the victims.
Kids mostly don’t have the cognitive capacity to know what information to keep and what to tell. Just like a kid can go to school and reveal embarrassing personal information about their parents, the same can be conducted online.
Sometimes this information can be solicited by cybercriminals with bad intentions. An example is a kid sharing credit card information online to the detriment of the parents. This is a grave risk and parents must always educate their young ones as to the importance of fidelity with information.
This is yet another threat lurking in cyberspace. Phishing essentially means using deceptive emails to trick people into clicking on malicious links or attachments. When done using malicious text messages, it is known as smishing.
A simple phishing email can be one that reads; “Hey, thought you might like this!” A kid might naturally click on one out of curiosity only to lead to devastating consequences. At times, these deceptive links and sites can be quite elaborate. Examples are malware that can sit in your computer and slowly collect information for malicious use.
As mentioned earlier, children are quite trusting. As such, it is important to warn them against clicking on your personal emails however juicy they may seem. This can go a long way in securing your home PC.
This is one aspect that even the smartest ones of kids can be vulnerable to. Indeed, you may teach your kid that everyone who say offers a million dollars online is probably a con. This is pretty basic but fraudsters online are ever so sophisticated.
Nowadays scams like free access to online games are on the rise. This has a caveat like sending some money or even worse, parents’ credit card information. It goes without saying that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. This is a lesson that could come in handy for your kids.
In conclusion, the internet in many ways can be a Pandora’s Box. The opportunities contained therein are things that could not even be imagined a few decades ago. However the opposite is also true. Guide your children that they may have positive and educative experiences online rather than negative and traumatic ones.
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