It’s shocking to know that –
- 1/3rdof children interact with strangers online
- Almost 62% of kids share personal information online
- Nearly 70% online tweens have Facebook accounts, defying the eligibility age of 13
Our children could be one amongst them!
We childproofed our homes when our kids were toddlers. It has become compulsory to also child-proof the Internet, now that they are in the 6 to 13 age bracket, which makes them the most vulnerable to chat dangers.
Kids are chatting online with Facebook, Twitter, and relatively newer programs like WhatsApp and Viber. It is impossible to list all the chatting apps (short for applications) and programs that they can use and you can monitor.
- Take a collaborative approach: Try to take the child into confidence and inform them of the virtues of safe surfing. Once you adopt a collaborative approach to this problem, then you might see that it is half the battle won. It will allow you to:
- Share passwords with your child so that you can physically monitor chat logs yourself
- Supervise their activities online without breathing down their necks
- Control their online interactions without looking like a Cruella De Vil
- Be Cool!: To do this successfully, you mustn’t flip out and lose your cool unnecessarily. Kids use slang, curse-words, and profanities with each other all the time. If you find such usage in their chat logs, control your temper. Explain to them what wrong they are doing.
- Be Well Prepared: Read these articles which tell you about online safety together. If both of you are aware of the dangers of online chatting, then you are better informed about this and are, thus, better able to protect yourselves.
- Be Sneaky: If you see that your child doesn’t co-operate with you, then you might need to be a bit sneaky. Pretend to be a friend and create a fake profile online. Make friends with them and strike up an online chat session. See how they behave with you. They mustn’t reveal –
- Personal information such as their birth dates, home and school address, holiday plans and so on
- Agree to meet strangers offline
- Their photos or their family’s photos, etc.
- Corrective Action: You might see that your child has inadvertently slipped up. Without revealing your fake online identity, have a small talk with them and inform them about the perils of doing this. Even if they have revealed personal information to someone, don’t scold your child. It will only discourage them from sharing their mistakes with you. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again by following internet safety.
Take Care 🙂
PS: Visit www.wisenetizen.com and use free resources for educating your child about #cybersafety.