Children’s Online Safety: An Introductory Guide For Parents

Nearly half of all children have reported being victims of cyberbullying. These included threats of violence, name-calling, or otherwise intimidating messages online. These aren’t even the most concerning statistics revolving around children’s online safety.

More than 20 million reports of suspected online sexual exploitation were made in 2020 alone. The internet provides a “mask” for people who can pretend to be anything they like. This can be incredibly dangerous to your children, especially those who may otherwise be vulnerable or trusting.

The most important thing you can do is stay involved with your children’s online safety. Continue reading to learn what that means and what steps you should take, if you haven’t already, to keep your child safe while using the internet.

Stay Involved

You need to know what apps and social media sites your children are on. This includes younger children but is especially true for your older children. Teenagers are increasingly becoming involved in social media culture.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media culture. It provides children an opportunity for creative expression and a way to keep in touch with friends or family members outside school. However, it can also leave children vulnerable to online predators.

Monitor your children’s social media activity by having them add you as friends. This allows you to track Instagram activity or posts on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc. You should also occasionally scroll through their online messages, including their emails (if they have a personal address).

Develop an Online Safety Plan

There can be no gray areas when it comes to children’s online safety. Establish clear boundaries and explain to your children what red flags they should be looking for. Come up with a comprehensive plan on dealing with cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, coercion, and potential security threats.

Ensure your child knows what to do in each unique situation. For example, if they believe there may be a potential security threat (because of an account being hacked), they may need to change their password and avoid the offending website. If they’re dealing with cyberbullying, they should report it, screenshot the offending messages, and block the individual.

Immediately Report Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation needs to be immediately reported to the authorities. This includes any person trying to get your child alone, asking them to send nudes, or a stranger trying to meet up in person. Additionally, it includes any sexual content revolving around underage kids, including situations involving violence.

The following are ways you can report child sexual exploitation:

More Questions About Children’s Online Safety?

Keeping your child safe online means staying involved and developing a safety plan. You should report all incidences of potential sexual exploitation of minors to the authorities.

Do you have more questions about children’s online safety?

Check out our other blogs. You’ll find articles on related topics to help you learn more on the matter.

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