Written by: Cindy Wong

Are our children safe hanging around in cyberspace? How do we ensure our children’s safety online?

Cyber Parenting 101: How to Ensure Your Child’s Online Safety

As we enjoy the convenience of the digital era brings, let us not forget that our children also spend a lot of time online these days. Are our children safe hanging around in cyberspace? How do we ensure our children’s safety online? As technology takes over, we have to face the reality that we have to be extra careful and implement cyber parenting.

Welcome to the digital era, where we can do almost everything via the internet. With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing us all to stay home, it made our lives a little bit easier because of the convenience it brings. It saves time for a trip to the grocery store, and we can even do bank errands at the comforts of our home. If your child’s fussy, sometimes, we resort to the easy solution, especially for work from home moms – handing them a mobile phone or a tablet.

Becoming a Cyber Parent

One Google survey on children’s online safety in the Asia Pacific in February 2021 revealed that 20% of the parents do not do anything about their kids’ online safety even if the cyber-risks increased due to Covid-19. 

It is only 1 out of 5 parents, but still, it is crucial.

Tracking and monitoring your child’s activity online is probably the most challenging part of being a cyber parent. Some parents feel guilty about this, especially if their children are approaching preteen years and need more privacy.

Keep in mind, though, that this is for the safety of your children, regardless of your parenting style. As people say, better safe than sorry. It is crucial to talk to your children about the risks and the dos and don’ts in using the internet, reminding them in the process of the possible consequences of misusing the internet.

Cyber-Parenting: Your Child's Online Safety Begins with You

Cyber Parenting 101: Where to Begin as A Cyber Parent

The pandemic made all of us spend more time on the internet than ever. If your children have smartphones, these are the things you might want to monitor and track your kids. 

Direct Messaging

One of the most common ways for malicious people to attack is via direct messaging. On the internet, everything is possible. A seemingly harmless 12-year-old kid can be a 42-year-old man, for all we know. They start to be friendly—they send greetings and fun images, and the next thing you know, your child is in danger of trusting a complete online stranger. 

Social media sites

Social media is heaven-sent because it allows us to connect to the world. It can also be incredibly harmful if not used properly. Social networks are where most people hang out on the internet, and the chances are high that your child meets malicious people. They might unknowingly share sensitive information with the public or receive unwanted attention from a stranger, or both. 

Frequently visited sites

Kids these days might cease to exist without their electronic devices. They need it to do their homework, school papers, gaming, and even movies to watch on the weekends. Monitoring your child’s frequently visited sites lets you know what they are up to online, what they usually do, and what they usually see.  

Downloaded apps

There is a smartphone app practically for everything we do—retail, games, photo and video editing, and the list goes on. While these apps are mostly harmless, some collect personal information and can even jeopardize your child’s safety. 

GPS tracking

GPS tracking might be over the top for some people, but there is nothing overreactive when it comes to your child’s safety. Teenagers’ increased curiosity and hunger for adventure can lead them into dangerous places. Con people can deceive practically anyone—even adults, so how much more for a child, right?

Again, preventive measures are much more accessible than handling the consequences of allowing these little things to fall through the cracks. 

Cybercrimes are rampant these days, and it is not only a matter of hacking into your online accounts and stealing your information. Cybersecurity is also about your awareness as an internet user on what precautions you take to keep your children safe from online attackers.

As parents, it is our duty to limit our children’s screentime, as there is a possibility that they get addicted to their electronic devices. We can always divert our children to playtime which can also bring benefits.

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