Guide on Internet Protection for Children
Before setting up something to protect your children from online threats, you should just tell them about the threats they may face on the internet. If a child knows about the danger in advance, then there is a high probability that they will respond to it appropriately.
So just tell them to avoid the mistakes that we will notify you about in this article. First, that clicking on suspicious links from unknown sources can lead to the loss of their parents’ money because the network is full of content that is not suitable for a child.
The main thing is to talk about internet protection for children in a language they understand and convince them to seek help from their parents in any challenging situation.
A comprehensive guide on internet protection is here.
Top 10 rules of internet protection for children
#1 Help children get used to the internet
It will be difficult for a child to understand what kind of thing the internet it is and why they need it for the first time. What seems evident to you remains a blank spot for a long time for someone who is just beginning to navigate the network. So take more time and tell and show your child what email, messengers, social networks, gaming, and video services are for.
Together with your child, create accounts in these services. For example, show how they can find favorite music or educational or entertaining videos, and read books. At the same time, it will be handy to talk about the basic rules of digital hygiene.
#2 Teach them not to share private data with everyone
Many children, especially those just getting used to the network, try to fill out their profiles in social networks in as much detail as possible. As a result, their home address, phone number, and even photos from home can be shared.
This may attract a hacker who sees such a child as a potential victim. Therefore, it is worth talking about this with children, explaining why they should not share unnecessary information where strangers can see it.
What is private data, and how can you protect it from threats? Learn more here.
#3 Tell children about cyberbullying
Experiencing bullying on the internet is no easier than offline, at least when it comes to children. If you see that the child has become depressed, silent, and/or aggressive, it may well be about cyberbullying. And this is exactly the case where it is better to prevent the phenomenon than try to fix it.
Tell children that the best reaction to the insulting words of someone in social networks or messengers is to ignore it. Teach them how to add a contact to the blacklist if necessary. Also, the child needs to learn to switch to other things in order to distract from an unpleasant situation.
#4 Agree on restrictions
The child should understand that spending a long time on the internet and with gadgets is not the best thing for them. You can draw analogies with sweets: they are delicious, but overindulgence has a harmful effect on health. Therefore, it is essential to agree on restrictions on using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
For example, you can limit the use of such devices during lunch. It is better to devote no more than two hours a day to online games (but here, of course, a lot depends on the child’s age and the rules adopted in the family). Such arrangements will be much more noticeable if these simple rules are observed not only by children but also by the surrounding adults.
#5 Install online security software
Such programs are available for both computers and mobile devices. Functionally, they allow you to configure various restrictions. For example, you can prohibit access to specific sites, videos, and programs. You can track your location, monitor the duration of time spent in front of the screen, see who is asking to be friends in social networks, etc.
On the contrary, tell the child about the application, explain that it is necessary for their own safety and will allow you to come to the rescue faster in case of trouble. Be open and honest with your child — they will appreciate it.
#6 Teach them to come up with complex passwords
It is not an easy task, not only for children but also for adults, to develop secure passwords. It is enough to look at the results of regular research, according to which passwords like “12345,” “123456789,” and “000000” are leading the world from year to year. It’s easy for an attacker to pick up such a password to someone else’s account in a social network.
Again, it is worth explaining the possible consequences and teaching children to use complex passwords, numbers, letters (including capital letters), and special characters. To simplify the task, you can recommend some password managers.
A complete password tutorial has been written here.
#7 Warn about suspicious links
Children often become victims of phishing. These attacks are about switching the user to fake sites that look very similar to popular and well-known resources. Links to such resources can come both in spam emails and in messengers. In the latter case, it may be related to selling or purchasing some things on the internet.
The rule is simple, but it must be said: “You mustn’t click on received links, especially if they came from a stranger.”
It is also worth studying the correct URLs of popular sites so that you can easily recognize a fake version of them (in such cases, the name in the address bar usually differs by one or two letters.)
What is phishing and how can you protect yourself from it? Read the article to know more.
#8 No freebies
The internet is full of useful free resources. However, malicious code may be hiding under the guise of such resources. For example, explain to the child that banners offering a generous “win” or a recommendation to download a movie that has not even been released in cinemas yet are highly likely to infect the device with a virus.
Therefore, we must learn not to click on such suspicious advertising banners and not to believe generous promises of rewards. Alas, scammers usually hide behind all this.
Find out more about different viruses here.
#9 Teach how to update software
Failure to update applications and the operating system is another mistake that affects both children and adults. It would seem to be a trifle, but with the help of updates, developers close vulnerabilities and increase the security of their software.
It is advisable to teach your child not to ignore notifications about updates and to install them when they become available. Or parents can check their children’s gadgets from time to time for the presence of such updates. Finally, do not forget about the option to automate the process and just set up auto-update once and for all.
In addition, you should introduce your child to the official app stores, which should be the only source of software installation.
#10 Choose only private and secure services and apps
Teach children about popular applications for communication, data transmission, and internet surfing. But do not forget that many of them are not so safe. Therefore, consider using alternative applications and ecosystems for a secure internet experience.
For instance, you can use the Utopia P2P ecosystem – a decentralized anonymous platform that ensures users’ internet stability and privacy. It has various built-in tools for messaging, data transfer, online browsing, gaming, and even mining (do not be afraid to show children the most secure and eco-friendly way of cryptocurrency mining – CRP mining.)
Compare the ecosystem with other alternative tools here.