Parenting in 2020 isn’t an easy task. Parents are asked to protect their children not only from physical threats but digital ones too. The worst part about keeping kids from harm is spoiling their natural optimism with the pragmatic and necessary knowledge to stay safe online.
The most important factor to explain to your children is that anything posted on the web will be there forever. Kids these days don’t have the luxury of private childhoods, not really. Every awkward phase, mistake, and bad haircuts can be saved in perpetuity on servers and other people’s computers.
It isn’t just YouTube that has sketchy content masquerading as child-friendly programming. There are lots of misleading content out there parading as kid’s shows.
Thankfully, YouTube does have parental control features that can reduce the chances of your kids coming across inappropriate media. You can’t completely block out disturbing content, but there are a few steps you can take to minimize exposing your child to adult media.
Preview Content Before Allowing Kids to View a Program: Fast-forwarding through a program to scan for any red flags is an easy way to keep track of what entertainment your children consume. Also, opt for headphone-free viewing so you can censor the material if necessary.
Block Inappropriate Channels and Artists: Social media outlets and news agencies frequently report scams and salacious materials pretending to be kid-friendly content.
Prohibit Search Functions: Turning off the search function on YouTube is particularly helpful for protecting young, literate, and curious minds.
Set-up YouTube Kids: This function doesn’t prevent everything but it does a decent job of blocking out adult content.
Truly the most effective defense against digital threats is keeping an open line of communication between you and your child.
Teaching them a few basic concepts will allow them to develop protective skills and earn a little independence in the process.
The following a few basic rules for kids to follow for safe internet activity.
A. Keep Personal Data Private! Personal information like addresses, email, phone numbers, school locations, check-ins, and other shareable data is dangerous for anyone of any age. Predators can use birthday messages to prize birthdates or spy identifiable locations in photos. Teach your kids to protect their privacy like a shark patrolling shallow waters.
B. Internet Equals Eternity – Everything that has ever been posted on the web is still there, like history it isn’t going anywhere. Being thoughtful about developing an online presence is key to future success. Remind them NOT to post anything they wouldn’t be proud to show to everyone in their life.
C. Teach Kids About Real-Life Consequences. Children need to know about the legal aspects of online activity. Bullying, sexually related content and terroristic threatening are all crimes that have criminal consequences, even for kids. Many families have faced heartbreaking court cases due to antisocial online behavior.
D. Password Privacy – Criminals are evolving as the web does. Children must have private, complex passwords which include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Monitoring your child’s privacy settings should be done routinely.
Finally, Don’t Accept Friend Request from Strangers and Don’t Meet Anyone Without Parental Consent!
Facebook reports that half of all users have accepted a stranger’s friend request.
Social media is changing, and unsolicited requests are frequently being diverted to junk files but discussing digital stranger danger should be a top priority.