We all are aware of the vast expansion of social media in our generation, even among children. But how many of us parents are aware of the threats coming around on our children? Maybe your child has received such threats and is psychologically affected by them. And the worst case is when you're not informed about this at all. To deal with such problems, some severe actions should be immediately taken from your side. And that's the topic of discussion today.
How Dangerous can Social Media and Internet Threats be?
As children and teenagers have a complicated relationship with social media, you can't always predict their activities. Apart from chatting with friends and enjoying small games, they can use many apps which take geo and personal data from social media accounts. Initially, they seem like fun, and maybe a friend has already recommended them. But some particular ones can have hidden intentions of credit card money transfer, task-based addictive genres and much more. And of course, not everything your child finds to be funny is just a fun game at all!
What to do as a parent?
Accept that you can't keep your children away from the Internet. But there are many ways you can control their voyage over the digital ocean. Moreover, an excellent children-parent relationship can be the best remedy to this. Here is some expert suggestion to protect your children from social media and internet addictions-
- Educate and Communicate
Take the task of introducing social media and the Internet on yourself. Don't let your child learn about Facebook from others. This may take your child to the opposing sides of apps and online games. Also, be a communicative parent. No matter how busy you are, discuss what they had enjoyed on the Internet the other day. Get involved in some multiplayer games yourself. Let them find pleasure together with you.
- Control all activities using a software
There are special programs for parental monitoring and control. Among the most popular ones is Spyrix Personal Monitor. It is a powerful multifunctional program for complete and detailed remote user activity monitoring. Spyrix Personal Monitor can monitor keyboard activity, activities on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), web-surfing, Skype, IM Messengers (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, etc.), running and active applications. It is a cloud-based software that allows remote control by sending information to your online account no matter where you are located. Spyrix Personal Monitor also allows monitoring your child in real-time remotely while they sit in front of the computer. It can also send data remotely to your email. A parent can monitor social activities and others activities using this type of monitor for their children's internet safety. And suggest to them what is right and what is wrong.
- Let Your Children Know about Them
Don't hide anything dangerous that you know of from your children. If you do, they'll find it out themselves, sooner or later, and you won't be there to warn them about that. So, advise your children to approve friend or app requests with caution. Let them know how unknown people or sources can interrupt their privacy. Tell them to avoid free giveaways, questionnaires, and other phishing scams. Also, keep their social media profiles private and personalized. Discourage them from using GPS-tracking based apps as much as possible.
- Set Rules on Your Own House
As a parent, you control your home, applying to your children's internet usage. Keep the computer in a familiar place where anything private can't be carried on. Allow your children to use the Internet for a limited time a day. It can be just entertainment to get refreshed, nothing else. If your child is a teenager and you can't be that strict with their internet use, be on their friend list on their social media profiles. So that you can know what they're up to. And lastly, make sure they stick with age-appropriate sites only.
Some Quick Tips
Before we end this article, here are some quick tips for you as a parent:
1. Keep yourself updated with the technology your children use.
2. Teach them the value of 'unplugging' the device for a specific time of the day.
3. Tell them what's okay to post on social media and what's not.
4. Teach them to value friendship in real life and hang out with friends IRL, not on social media.
5. Interest your child in outdoor sports and make these family hangouts a tradition.
6. Be updated with online privacy protocols and how they can negatively affect your children.
Authors: Atianashie Miracle A, and Chukwuma Chinaza Adaobi