Image credit: John Watson via Flickr
Today’s children are highly Internet-savvy, and have been raised using smartphones and tablets for entertainment and communication. Even schools have found ways of integrating learning with the use of desktop and tablet applications. In fact, a 2014 study found that one-third of students in middle and high school were using the Internet for schoolwork, and one-third were using mobile devices that were issued by the schools.
Still, there are pros and cons that come this new age of digital freedom. On the one hand, technology helps parents communicate with their children no matter where they are, but on the other hand, there are risks associated with connecting to the Web. To truly optimize children’s online experience, it’s important to practice safe Internet use and have proper Internet parental control integrated into your router. With parental control, parents can:
Reduce The Risk of Cyber Threats
Cyber threats are a huge, multi-billion dollar issue across the globe, and it’s easy for children to fall victim to these digital threats. According to a Barkly study, there are roughly 200,000 malware attacks per day. Malware refers to any type of malicious software that brings harm to the user’s device or the users themselves.
Children are especially susceptible to falling victim to a malware attack. They often download games and videos (from sites that prey on unsuspecting victims) are are naive to pop-ups that say things like “We’re giving away FREE iPads to the first 100 visitors!” or “ALERT: Your computer is infected! Click here to clean it.” To prevent that from happening, it’s important have safety protocols in place.
Once a child unintentionally allows a Trojan onto the computer, a hacker can take passwords, personal files, and even view the user through the computer camera. This could easily lead to an identify theft case, which is much more common than many people realize. A secure Wifi router has intelligent intrusion detection that monitors various devices for unusual activity, which helps prevent hacking.
Protect The Online Reputations of Children
Today, it’s common practice for employers to check the online reputations of their potential candidates, and parents can help prevent a tarnished reputation in the future by monitoring the postings of today. One study from CareerBuilder found that around 70% of employers will research a candidate on social media before making a hiring decision. Some college admissions and scholarship offices will do the same. It’s easy for teens to post and share content that doesn’t fit a professional image, because they don’t think that far ahead — but this is where parents come in. In addition to having parental controls in place, you should check the privacy settings on each social media platform your child uses.
Monitor Online Usage
While your children are still in school, monitoring their online usage is important. Roughly 70% of children will see inappropriate content accidentally. Internet parental control routers like Gryphon Connect help create a firewall between your children and explicit and/or harmful content by allowing real-time content approval, filtering by user, and even capping Internet usage and setting homework and bedtime timers.
By monitoring website history, you can stay in the loop with what activities your child is a part of. As they grow older and gain more independence, you can start to say they’ve earned their ability to browse more freely. Think of this type of monitoring as more of a preventative strategy: any early issues can be easily intervened before they become bigger problems.
Cyberstalking is one of the biggest parental fears — and for good reason. Cyberstalking statistics are dreary: each year, one million woman and 370,000 men are cyber stalked in the United States alone. The average cyberstalking situation lasts about two years. And there are plenty of cyberstalking horror stories that detail the frightening accounts of victims caught in this unfortunate situation. Sometimes cyberstalking is done by people the victim knows, and other times it’s by anonymous online identities.
Parents can help prevent cyberstalking (and bullying) by keeping a close eye on what sites their kids are visiting. Chat rooms are important to monitor, because in many cases, this is where anonymous predators find their victims. One article found that a Google search of “kids chat rooms” yielded websites that prompted children to upload photos of themselves and input credit card information to open the slew of private messages they get upon signing up. As you can see, there is plenty of bad on the Internet, and with the right security measures, you can prevent a serious slip-up from occurring.