Keeping your children safe online

Nowadays, children spend more time online than ever before. Many are now well adapted to computer technology and internet connected devices.

A 2021 report by the United Nations highlights that, some 80% of children in 25 countries report feeling in danger of sexual abuse or exploitation online

The report further noted that children are put at risk because tech companies breach their privacy.

Nelson Atwiine, a parent is worried that the current computer technology and Artificial Intelligence era may affect the growth and development of children.

“A child should only be exposed to nature so that they develop their senses and learn the rest from parents, guardians and community, but not the phone,’’ he says.

Whereas a tech savvy world needs children with versatile knowledge on things, consumption of information beyond their understanding may harm their thought process and expose their safety online.

Parents all around the world must ensure the children’s safety and privacy online, because it is a crucial security measure. Precautions like educating children about the basic ways of internet usage, to how to keep safe from bullies, kidnappers, harassment, and pornography among others.

Here are some tips to guide you;

  1. Teach them the basics

As a parent,  it is your ultimate goal to raise children who are loved and protected. Well today’s world has seen a number of changes including computer technology and the internet and protection and security is no longer just physical but also virtual.

Ensure that your children trust you enough to tell you even the simplest thing like a new friend, and then educate them about computers, how they operate, how they should be used and how they can protect themselves. Show them some of the security programs to run and how important these are. Encourage them to always keep the parental control on and delve into the reasons why. Also, caution them about electricity and device connecting wires in addition to reminding them never to trust strangers while using computer devices.

  • Utilise the Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Most of us if not all learnt about virtual private networks during the election period. VPN protects you by preventing your location from being tracked by connecting your device to a secure server and uses an encryption to keep your information safe. In simple terms, it masks your information so that your information can not be stolen or accessed by malicious parties in public networks.

  • Know who they are interacting with

Older children are prone to spend most of their free time texting and chatting with friends, relatives and classmates online but this does not exclude strangers. These can masquerade as family to get personal information about your teenager which may be dangerous. Pay attention to the people your child talks to and look out for cyber harassment to keep your child safe.

  • Adjust parental block settings

While you allow access to these computer technology devices, ensure that you set parental blocks and control for the safety of your child. Parental block gives you a chance to choose what content comes to your child’s device and blocks illicit content. There are many sites spreading porn adverts targeting mostly children through games. And whereas it may look like an innocent pop up add, it can be the instiller of deadly addictions and anxiety.

  • Report any online harassment

This is probably something that many parents take for granted until their children’s safety is affected physically. Strangers sending your child porn or inviting them to parties is a big red flag and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many teenage rape victims were coerced by social media chats that later led to a meet up. Paedophiles and many evil people are out there hunting pray using computer devices. Encourage your children to speak up when a stranger starts sending those suggestive messages online.


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