As a parent of a budding teenager, I find unchecked internet use among children to be scary. There are so many potential dangers online, and it can be difficult to keep track of what my child is doing and seeing and who he is talking to. On top of that they demand their “privacy”.
The dangers of unchecked Internet use
Here are just a few of the dangers of unchecked internet use among children:
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is when someone uses electronic communication to bully another person. It can take many forms, such as sending mean or threatening messages, posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone online, or spreading rumors about someone. Cyberbullying can have a devastating impact on a child’s self-esteem and mental health and may even lead to suicide.
Online predators: Online predators are adults who use the internet to prey on children. They may pose as someone else, such as a teenager or another child, in order to gain the child’s trust. Once they have the child’s trust, they may try to scam through the child or lure the child to meet up in person or engage in sexual activity online.
Inappropriate content: There is a lot of inappropriate content on the internet, including pornography, violence, and hate speech. Children may be exposed to this content accidentally, or they may seek it out intentionally. Exposure to inappropriate content can have a negative impact on a child’s development and mental health.In fact some of these activities might even be illegal.
Internet addiction: Children who are addicted to the internet may spend hours online each day, neglecting their schoolwork, relationships, and other activities. Internet addiction can lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.The addiction can even lead to stealing or other inappropriate behaviour as you will find in the next point below.
- Reckless spending – A child can misuse payment gateways information stored online to indulge in reckless spending and even worse to buy inappropriate or harmful things for example the instance of this Hyderabadi woman.
Why unchecked internet use is especially scary for parents of budding teenagers
Budding teenagers are going through a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. They are also starting to become more independent and explore the world around them. This can make them more vulnerable to the dangers of the internet.
For example, budding teenagers are more likely to engage in risky online behavior, like talking to strangers online or sharing personal information.Since cyber crime is difficult to report and get reprieve from, prevention is a better approach.
What parents can do to keep their children safe online
There are a number of things that parents can do to keep their children safe online. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to your children about the dangers of the internet. Make sure they understand that there are bad people online and that they should never share personal information with strangers.
- Set rules for internet use. Establish limits on how much time your child can spend online each day and what websites and apps they can use.
- Monitor your child’s internet use. Use parental controls like Happinetz to block inappropriate content and track your child’s online activity.
- Communicate with your child about their online life. Ask them what they are doing online and who they are talking to.
It is also important to remember that you cannot control everything your child does online. However, by talking to them about the dangers of the internet and setting rules for internet use, you can help to keep them safe.
Additional tips for parents of budding teenagers:
- Be a good role model. Show your child how to use the internet responsibly.
- Teach your child about digital citizenship. Help your child to understand the importance of being respectful and responsible online.
- Encourage your child to come to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or afraid online.
- Be patient and understanding. It takes time for children to learn how to use the internet safely.
In addition to the above, here are some other things that parents of budding teenagers can do to mitigate the dangers of unchecked internet use:
- Educate yourself about the latest trends in the online world. This will help you to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of the potential dangers that your child may face.
- Talk to your child’s friends’ parents. It’s important to be on the same page as other parents when it comes to setting rules for internet use and monitoring your children’s online activity.Talk to your child’s school counselor or pediatrician or find more information online.
- Encourage your child to have a healthy balance between online and offline activities. Make sure that they are spending time with their friends and family in person, and that they are participating in activities that they enjoy.
By following these tips, parents like me can keep their budding teenagers safe online without becoming the villain in their life 😉