This could be more important than teaching your kids to drive!
The last six months or so, Quakerdale developed a research team to help families learn about internet safety and cyber safety. As a matter of fact, universities and colleges are now beginning new cyber security programs to chase hackers and digital bandits. We have been learning about the trends and facts about internet safety and e safety! We talked to professionals and sifted through the information to find what is real and what is not.
I want to give you a taste of what we have found.
One thing that many parents don’t realize are the dangers of the internet for their kids…. AND they don’t know the dangers that exist for them as parents either!
Sure, there are viruses out there that clog up the operations of your computer and ways people even steal your identity, but there is a lot worse than that!
It seems that many of us have become numb or we just don’t know what dangers exist out there on the internet. We don’t know what it takes to stay safe online. Many of us live in a world of complacency.
- Children who develop lifelong fears and sexual addictions because they were exposed to violence and perverse sexual material
- Parents in legal and financial trouble due to choices made by their children on the internet and social media
- Teens abducted after finding an internet friend (predator in disguise)
- Children who learn illegal skills like bomb making or computer hacking
- Children hurting themselves or hurt by others by cyber bullying
- Just playing games on the Xbox or watching Netflix can be hazardous according to a Forbes tech article.
Parents and children who are on the internet need to be alert to these dangers and make sure they institute the right safeguards. There are two types of safeguards:
1) Software programs that you must install on your computer, phone or tablet. (This is called cyber security.)
2) Parental and child readiness and awareness. (This is the real key to cyber security).
You see it isn’t enough to just download a software protection program and consider everything safe. The easy part is to find a cyber security program to keep viruses and malware away. Everyone does it already. Real internet safety requires user awareness where parents and children understand the dangers and have the ability to move through and around these dangers. It starts at a young age with gradually increasing levels of exposure and freedom. It requires an intentional plan orchestrated by the parents.
We found nothing substitutes for training and education. Nobody can do it for you and no one magically becomes ready for the dangers of the internet. Just like buying a person a car does not prepare them for driving on the roads.
Each of us must prepare for and be ready for the dangers and we need our kids ready too! The responsibilities of learning these things and protecting our families cannot be delegated to a program, school teachers, classmates or anyone else. In this article we find that even baby monitors can bring people into your home without your permission. It is a little hard to believe that a stranger could be talking to your baby and taking pictures of them in their crib, but technology and internet safety needs are real and growing.
After reading that article about the baby monitor, you might want to completely disconnect from the internet, but that really isn’t the answer either. The internet is how our world works and trying to isolate from it has its own dangers too. Kids need to learn about it properly because their livelihood will likely utilize the internet. There are great things the internet brings! We now live in an internet culture!
To protect your children, you must learn for your children’s safety, and your own. Internet safety is not restricted to your computer. Our phones and tablets are computers too, and don’t forget anything that is hooked up to the internet is an internet security threat – just like the baby monitor, video games or even your wifi thermostat for your heater. It is your job to protect yourself, and your family.
We use a term called developmental readiness for preparing children for the internet culture. Your child has to be developmentally ready. Developmental readiness is individual to the child. Your child might be developmentally ready at 8 years of age to have a half hour of unsupervised internet time, where my child may still not be ready at the age of 13!
Parents have to be aware of the internet dangers and then be able to figure out when their child is ready for more freedom and responsibility on the internet or social media. You must make sure your child is safe and ready to be on the internet or social media or they can get caught in illegal behavior, Internet dangers, cyber bullying and other internet dangers.
We have more to share on this, but we are curious to hear from you.
What are you doing to protect your home and children from cyber risks? What can you share with our community about cyber bullying or other internet dangers? What questions do you have on this topic? How have you learned about internet safety? Please share.
If you value this information instead of just liking it be sure to share it with your friends.!
The Quakerdale Team