The internet is a powerful, vast and resourceful tool for your children to use for their education. We should all be thankful about the fact that our kids have access to it, yet we must also be careful that they aren’t exposed or harmed by the negative aspects of the internet.
Doing away with the internet completely isn’t an option anymore. It’s a vital part of being connected to everyone else; your kids will have to use it at some point, one way or another. As long as you and they understand the risks, they’ll be able to use the internet responsibly and safely.
Always remember to enquire about parental controls before you commit to any broadband packages. Read on to find out more.
Harmful Commercial Content
Commercial content that is aimed at adults in general can be quite harmful to kids. Your child could be harmed through spam – fake adverts that request personal information, which in turn will harm you.
Today’s online spam is more sophisticated than the spam of old (for want of a better term). These programmes now use tracking technology that will import Trojan malware onto your computer – something your child could easily fall prey to.
Other commercial content your child could erroneously get involved with includes: illegal downloading, hacking, gambling or other financial scams.
Harmful Aggressive Content
The kinds of aggressive content your child could accidentally access include racist or other hateful content in the forms of videos or forums. This can include violent and biased misleading information that could confuse your child.
An additional danger here is that apart from getting exposed to this kind of content, your child could also be misled into participating. He or she could take part in online harassment or bullying, as opposed to being ‘stalked’ themselves.
Harmful Sexual Content
Parents are mostly afraid of their children being exposed to harmful sexual content. Aside from the obvious danger of accessing pornographic or other unwelcome sexual content, there is also the risk of their meeting strangers online in chat rooms, or even being ‘groomed’ by strangers over long periods of time.
Additionally, if your child is participating, they may upload inappropriate material themselves or encourage their peers to do the same. It’s important that you are vigilant against this kind of behaviour.
What to do about it
As stated above, preventing your child from using the internet at all is an unsustainable practice. Most broadband providers will help you set up sophisticated parental settings and controls that will allow you to restrict what kind of sites your kids will see.
The most important thing is to cultivate trust between yourself and your children. By explaining to them what kinds of harmful things exist on the internet, they will be more responsible about what kind of content they try to access.
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