Protecting our Children: Online and in Real Life
No matter how confident you are as a parent, the pressure to protect your children from online dangers, as much as from those in real life, can get to you. Before anything else — before asking you or their closest friends — your kids are more than likely to ask a search engine the question that is occupying their minds, regardless of how silly or serious the subject is.
This is the generation we are raising. Even if we are not consciously teaching them to do so, our children are still going to turn to the internet to get their answers, to get their entertainment, their solace and their sense of belonging. This is because the internet is unrelenting and the minute the real world fails them in some way, the online world will give them what they are looking for.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spoken about the online dangers related to children, including the abuse by online advertisers, stating how, as parents, “We used to worry about our children wandering into bad neighborhoods [but] now our children live online, and we have to police the internet the same way we police the streets.”
The problem is, policing the internet takes parenting to a whole other level because we cannot simply put our children to bed and assume they are safe. Whether they are in the living room with us, lounging with their phones or at school, our kids can become victims of a slew of online dangers, unless we arm ourselves with modern tools that support this new era in parenting.
The Dangers Your Children Could be Facing:
Targeted ads – Some websites targeting children were found to be tracking activity to serve ads despite ad tracking being “forbidden for sites directed at children under 13 by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (or COPPA).
Growing up too fast – Even if your kids are not going online with the intent to search for inappropriate media, they can still come across content that is vulgar or violent, which will then expose them to material they would not have been ready for.
Online communities – The beauty of the internet is that it is inclusive and a person can find a community that accepts them as they are. At times however, communities can serve to encourage your kids into dabbling in destructive behavior by leading them to believe that certain measures such as suicide, self-harm, or other dangerous behavior is their only option in the midst of their angst.
There are other forms of online dangers that are often mentioned and which should not be taken for granted. Shutting down online predators is one example but not only should we discourage our kids from meeting people online, we should also remind them to ignore messages or emails from people they don’t know because it could be a scam.
Other measures include teaching them to protect their private information and that not everything they watch online is real because some things can be dangerous if attempted in real life. Knowing what our children are searching for online is another way of getting into their minds and seeing whether they are merely looking for cat photos or searching for ways to physically harm themselves.
Online and Real World Protection
Nowadays, transitioning from the online world to the real world feels organic and we do it quite naturally. This is why the tools we need to help us protect our children must work in a way that encapsulate both the matters of the real world and those of online. The parental control app is one modern tool that has now become an extension of modern day parenting. This security measure is the constant monitoring parents need to beat the 24/7 duties that the online world has brought with it.
No matter how much time you have on your hands, it is impossible to stay on top of your children’s online activities but with a parental control app, you can gain back control and keep your children safe online and in real life. From monitoring their location to their calls and texts, blocking dangerous apps and pausing their web browsing or social media activity, a parental control app can give us back the opportunity to keep our children in a safe circle, protected from the ugly side of the online world.