Guest Post: Understanding the Risks Your Children Face Online

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internetAs you already know, Internet safety is very important to me. My children have access to devices and many ways to connect to the internet. I want to make sure that they do not come across content that they should not. With so many ways to connect these days, there are several things that we need to keep in mind and be aware of. The below guest post tells us some of those things.

 

That the internet is the most important invention of our age is a difficult position to dispute. A milestone in human development, it has undoubtedly shifted the way we organise our entire society. It has brought us a whole host of benefits, by placing a wealth of information at our fingertips and providing us with free and instantaneous means of communication. Our lives have been made infinitely easier by online shopping and services. We can even forego that trip to the gym thanks to a whole host of free online exercise videos.

Demonising the internet is neither a reasonable nor conducive use of society’s energy. However, we still need to be sensible about it. Along with the benefits, the internet has opened up new risks, especially for children. This is why parents should be aware of the dangers floating around in cyberspace, so they are in the know and can be properly prepared.

Images and information

The internet can search out millions of pages worth of images and information in a split second. Internet search engines are invaluable for any child doing their homework, allowing them to find the information they need in a much more timely manner than they would trawling through books. The problem is, along with useful information, search engines can return less savoury results that we’d rather our children didn’t see.

Thankfully, most search engines have filter settings that can be implemented by parents. These will prevent certain pieces of information and images from showing up in search results. Search engines are gathering data on pages all the time, which allows them to keep up with what is best kept away from sensitive eyes. There are also paid-for services out there for those of you that want even more peace of mind, provided by internet security providers like Norton for computers and laptops.

Social Media

For good or for ill, it has made maintaining contact with old friends far easier. Starting a new life somewhere else no longer means drifting away from those you grew up around. Whatever your take on your personal relationships, there’s no doubt these provide a revolutionary service that many have benefited from.

Unfortunately, social media does have its dangers. It can be a source of cyber bullying, through either private messages or even on public ‘walls’. There are also very upsetting cases of manipulation by adults posing as children. If you are worried about these things, then websites like The Safe Network can be of great help. They provide advice and links that can help you if you feel your child might be getting into trouble.

Mobiles

Nowadays, with the development of smartphones, the internet can be accessed even more remotely than before, away from the protection of the family home and your watchful eye. This can cause some parents to worry.

Wisely, the mobile industry doesn’t want to be left behind when it comes to internet safety. The vast majority provide in-depth parental control features that you can use to control what your child can access online. These controls can be locked with a PIN of your choosing, meaning your child can’t tamper with them, and you can have complete peace of mind.

But, it’s not just safety you need to keep an eye on when it comes to mobile internet, there are also costs to consider. Premium services, apps and games, and even simple browsing times can add to your bill if you’ve chosen a contract plan.

It’s best to know the potential costs before signing up and to keep abreast of these after. By visiting network provider websites like Vodafone, you can get the most comprehensive information on mobile phone costs so you know what you are getting yourself into. Once signed up, most mobile accounts can be accessed online, giving you up-to-the-minute information on data usage and costs, so you know when you might need to rein your child in.

 

Will Hemner is a passionate travel, tech and lifestyle writer living in London. With extensive journalistic experience writing for magazines and newspapers, there’s not much Will isn’t comfortable writing about. When not frantically writing, Will can be found playing football or enjoying a pint down at the pub with friends.

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