𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬: 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐬

January 28, 2023

The internet is an excellent resource for children and teenagers, providing them with access to a vast amount of information. This new age of technology also allows children to communicate with others online via a variety of platforms such as social media, email, and text messaging. Unfortunately, therein lies the safety risk of encounters with online predators.

  1. Educate Young People

When teaching children how to use the internet, they must also teach them how to use it safely. Young people should be warned not to respond to strangers’ online advances. They must also be instructed on what to do if this occurs.

  • No personal information should be disclosed. This includes their full name, date of birth, phone number, address, school, and photographs of their house, street, school, or playgrounds.
  • Tips on how to block strangers and others on social media platforms.
  • Assist them in understanding that they are not at fault (and will not face consequences) if they report an incident.
  • Teach them how to report an incident (and to whom).
  1. Build Trust Between Parents and Children

This is a critical point. Parents must work hard to establish an open and trusting relationship with their children. Only when children feel safe and valued will they feel free to speak up about something that bothers them.

If you are familiar with the program or app that you want to discuss, it can help with conversations. It can also be used to provide advice to children. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has a guide on age restrictions and privacy tools that may be found in games, apps, or websites.

  • Determine the age restrictions for the websites and applications that your child wishes to use.
  • Learn how to block unwanted users. You can then instruct your child on how to do so. If you believe your child already knows how, you can ask them to demonstrate and learn from them.
  • Set up your own accounts and ‘friend’ your child, depending on their age. This allows you to understand how the site’s privacy settings work, as well as see what your child posts online and how your child responds to other people’s posts.
  1. Invest in Parental Control Apps.

AI-powered systems can monitor a child’s online activity and notify parents of potential threats. Apps are available that can track smartphone, tablet, and computer activities and block suspicious or adult content. Some apps will also limit the amount of time spent on social media and gaming platforms; others will leave that up to the parent.

Some monitoring apps can also provide information to the child about the dangers of the internet and how to avoid them.

  1. Safeguard Your Family’s Data
  • Use two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
  • Use strict privacy settings for apps and websites rather than the defaults.
  • Use strong passwords and change them frequently.
  • Use antivirus software.
  • Disable location services (unless you want to track your child’s whereabouts).
  • Check your browser’s cookie settings to ensure that no personal information about your family is gathered.
  • Do not allow apps to share data. If an app wants to access data on your phone, such as contacts, photos, and calendar, don’t agree or check any boxes unless you know which data it will still work with. Otherwise, consider using a less data-intensive app.
  1. Interventions at the Schoolwide Level

A school can effectively address the issue of online predators by hosting an e-safety session. E-safety sessions are led by cyber safety experts, who are knowledgeable about the various internet dangers (such as cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, online predators, and e-personation) and how to combat them.

These types of sessions help to raise the entire school community’s awareness of online risks without pointing fingers at any one person or group. At the same time, the entire school community can learn about online predators and the harm they can cause.

However, in order for this message to truly sink in, schools must hold e-safety sessions on a regular basis.



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