Safer Internet Day: How to keep yourself and your children safe online
The web offers a plethora of ideas for everyone to grab and use for their growth, both personal and professional. But it comes with its own set of risks and security measures. Here are a few tips to stay safe online.Updated: Feb 11, 2020 16:44 IST
The online world has so much for you, but like many things in life, it comes with risks. The choice is yours – you either spread hate or bring the online world together as one. A better internet starts with each and every one of us. The internet is not just a tool. It is seen as both an innovation for good and an instrument of evil. Learning about using the internet safely, securely while also teaching your children about it is the first step towards enabling them to avoid the risks attached to the World Wide Web.
The web offers a plethora of ideas for everyone to grab and use for their growth, both personal and professional. But it comes with its own set of risks and security measures. Parents and children use the online space for learning, exploration, experimentation, play and pleasure. From entrepreneurship to making social change, the internet has given everyone a window to make their mark on the world.
Children may also come across things online that are not age-appropriate. Hence a coaching to understand the advantages and disadvantages is necessary. As a parent or a guardian, you can prepare your child by showing them the best ways to avoid questionable content on the internet as well as by using filters to block such content.
Teenagers, children questioning their sexuality, children with disabilities, children with low self-esteem and those with a high level of internet access are highly vulnerable to the bane of the internet. On one hand, it would be unwise to deny a child access to the most valuable educational resource available, but on the other, particularly with younger children, it is something that has to be monitored. The age when children start to use technology varies from family to family.
According to the companies that provide some of the most popular services on the internet, there is no right to privacy while using the World Wide Web. Online privacy/anonymity takes a lot of concerted effort. Most internet-enabled services derive a significant income stream from selling the information you provide them with.
According to the social networking site, Quora.com, here are some of the pointers to keep in mind when giving your child or a young person in the family a mobile phone to use:
* Always opt for a basic handset for children. You may opt for ones that dial only your contact number with a prepaid connection.
* Apps your children download must be given special consideration.
* Social media usage must be under strict control.
* Do not allow 4 to 5 years old to sit more than half an hour per sitting.
* Do not allow 6 to 7-year-olds to sit more than one hour per sitting.
* High school students should limit the use to two hours.
* Never allow your child to interact or use mobile phones while having your meals.
* Over-usage of mobile phones can result in eye problems. 20-20-20 rule must be followed. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away.
Remember a harmless troll could also take a toll on others. The virtual world belongs to each and every one of us, and hence it becomes our responsibility to make it a space that is friendly and inclusive for all.
According to U-Report, Global Poll on Digital Violence and Cyberbullying, 30% of young people believe that they are responsible to end online bullying.
Porn, Sexting and its consequences
Without unduly scaring your children about the ill-effects of watching porn, explain to them what it entails, how it’s a crime, how it’s disrespectful to women and may also lead to unrealistic expectations that may affect your future sex life.
Sexting is a common form of self-generated sexually explicit content often done by and among consenting individuals. There is also a non-consensual aspect to it which involves unwanted sharing or receiving sexually explicit photos or videos or messages. This can be done by both known as well as unknown people. The intention may be to make contact, put pressure or groom the child.
How to prevent unwanted consequences of Sexting
* Outline the rules of having a mobile, tablet or smartphone at the very outset.
* Tell them that their body is private and being asked to share explicit images is inappropriate, and it is not okay for someone to make them feel uncomfortable, to pressure them into doing things that they don’t want to do or to show them things that they’re unhappy about.
* Explain to them about the importance of trust and consent in a healthy relationship.
* Let them know that they can speak to you if this ever happens. And that you will not judge them if they come to you.
You only live once, but your online info stays forever. Stay safe online.