How Safe Are Today’s Kids Online?
May 29, 2014
View guide: Creating a Safe Online Environment for Kids
Unlike the generations before them, the kids of today are more connected to the Internet. Armed with just a smartphone or tablet and an Internet connection, they have the power to hop from one site to another, searching for anything that tickles their fancy. With new content like apps, games, and videos made available every day, kids won’t run out of things to do.
Ideally, this setup is great, since kids will have access to an unimaginable wealth of knowledge just by tapping on a screen. But in reality, the Internet isn’t all that child-friendly. Whether we like or not, the kids of today will be exposed to online dangers. Some of these include:
- Inappropriate and malicious content: Though the Internet has a good side full of fun and educational pages for kids, it’s also rife with sites that are sexual, morbid, or violent in nature—mature content not suitable for impressionable young children.
Several sites also host malware or malicious content, stuff that children can download and execute without knowing the harm it can do on their devices.
Parents and guardians need to take the initiative in educating their kids about the many safety risks they face online. Those listed above are just a few. But in order to truly create a safe online environment for kids, parents, guardians, and kids alike, need to know how they can protect themselves against every possible threat. Education is a good first step. When applied with good online safety guidelines, it can strengthen the security of a child’s online environment.
- Abusive and exploitative people: The Internet may be a good place to foster online friendships, but the anonymity it gives its users make it easier for kids to bully their peers. As of late, several incidents of self-harm caused by cyberbullying have made it on the news, showing how serious an issue it is. But far worse than cyberbullies are online predators who befriend and victimize kids for their own pleasure.
- Information stealers: The Internet makes it easy for kids to share just about anything to the world. They can post photos, broadcast their exact location, and share private family information on any site and to anybody they meet online. When bad guys get a hold of this data, there’s no telling what they can do.
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