Establish Internet Safety for Kids and Teens with Parental Controls

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When you are a parent of a teen who uses the internet or the one who is just starting to use it, it worries you. Although the internet has plenty of positive sides too like when you want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, or when your kid wants to research their homework, or when they want to connect with their friends. But you know very well, that it can become dangerous at any point.

In this article published on Huff Post,  research is discussed which is conducted by Internet Matters, an organization made for raising awareness about issues that kids face in the digital world. They stated that now six-year-olds are equally aware of the digital world as 10-year-olds were three years ago.

Another small scale study was conducted on 1500 parents only. It showed that since 2013, the number of children using the internet has increased by up to 55%. Among these youngsters, 58% were streaming videos from sites like YouTube. The number has increased rapidly, and it is still increasing.

The organization also found that the number of parents supervising their children, when they are using the internet, has also decreased. Most of the parents were unable to decipher some memes and abbreviations used by youth these days to share their emotions.

As the general manager of Internet Matters, Carolyn Bunting said, “While we want to encourage children to explore and enjoy technology throughout their childhood, we also want to make sure parents are on top of exactly what they need to be doing to ensure they are doing it safely."

These parents might not realize how much riskier the internet is for their kids, or they have this idea that kids can take care of themselves. Either way, they need to realize that kids are kids, and they need guidance at every step. This article has some risks enlisted in it regarding the usage of internet for kids and teens. 

Internet Safety Risks for Kids and Teens

Three main risks for the kids using the internet are:

1. Conduct Risks

When the kids start to behave in certain inappropriate ways, they are either having a bad company or they are facing such behaviors. Look into their internet usage and see what is happening over there. There might be some signs of:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting
  • Unauthorized purchasing from other people’s financial details
  • Creating revealing content about other people
  • Not regulated internet times
  • Sexting

2. Content Risks

For kids, this risk arises when they come across the material that is disgusting and uncomfortable to watch. This material might include:

  • Hate sites
  • Terrorist posts
  • Simulated or real violence
  • Pornography
  • Content related to drug use, self-harm, negative body image, and stuff

3. Contact Risks

When kids are online, they often get enthusiastic about meeting new people. The strangers they meet can be predators who look for innocent victims. They can be those people who manipulate kids into giving parents’ credit card and other personal information to them. There are pretty much good chances of kids facing online scammers online.

Signs That Indicate That Your Kid is in Trouble

An article about internet safety for kids and teens has enlisted some of the signs to look out in kids. These signs indicate some unusual activities going around on the internet.

1. They are Mostly Depressed

Your child might seem happy when using the computer, but as soon as he gets offline, he seems depressed. Many parents don’t understand that their kids might be facing some sort of harassment on the internet which is making them feel down and depressed all the time. Or, there is some kind of addiction on the internet that is keeping them happy online.

2. They are Secretive

Does your child hide the computer screen from you when he is using it? If that is the case, then there is something they are doing that might upset you. There are good chances that your child is doing something that he shouldn’t be doing like talking to a stranger, watching explicit content and stuff.

3. They Get Online at The Same Time Every Day

Kids can easily fall victim to online predators. However, this process doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and continuous communication with the person. If they get online at the same time every day, it means someone is waiting for them at that time every day. Take a look at what they are doing and keep an eye on them.

4. Behavioral Changes

Are you experiencing changes in their behaviors frequently? Are they being more alone, secretive, and rebellious? When they are using the internet on one side and changing their behaviors along with it, it means they are learning something from the internet.

There are a lot of changes that you will feel when something nasty or wrong is going in their digital world.

What Should You Do?

As explained in this article, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep your kid out of trouble.

1. Using A Parental Control App

A parental control app like SecureTeen allows you to monitor your kids’ activities online. Not only you can monitor their social media activities, but you can also restrict a few things to keep them safe and protected.

These apps let you save your child from the wrong content in the first place. Along with this, these apps let you understand your kid, about what is going with them and how you can tackle them.

2. Communication is the Key

Keep them close to yourself. Communicate with them every day about everything. Use the internet, know the trends, and then talk to them about it. When they know that you are up-to-dated, they will consider your invitation to a healthy conversation.

Don’t start putting restrictions on them; instead, have a healthy conversation about what is going in the internet world and how they can handle it. Tell them that there are certain risks that they are going to face and they ought to deal with them bravely and wisely.

3. Don’t Leave Them Unattended When They Are On the Computer

Parents often make the mistake of giving a corner of the house to children for using the computer. If it is not in your sight, make it. Sit with them when they are online, and ask them to share their activities with you. Don’t make them feel suffocated. You don’t need to be on their heads all the time.

Just once or twice, when they are using the internet, pass by them. This will make them realize that you are there all the time. If you have a good relationship with your kids, they might even consider sharing with you.

Use these tips and never ignore any unusual signs you see in your kids. Keep an eye on them and know the risks they might be facing in the internet world.