The increasing use of the Internet in today's world leads to greater dependence on it and an increase in the number of risks.
The Internet provides many opportunities for criminals — fraud, identity theft, money theft, and more. These crimes have become quite common in recent years, especially during pandemics and wars, when most people have gone online.
Obviously, the Internet can be dangerous, so it's important to take steps to protect yourself.
The Internet is especially dangerous for children
Children are becoming more active on the Internet, opening endless opportunities for themselves, but at the same time, they face various dangers. In recent years, online fraudsters and criminals have tried to use children to carry out their criminal activities.
One of the most widespread threats on the Internet for children is cyberbullying. This is a form of digital violence that consists of personal attacks and online insults. Children can become victims of cyberbullying, regardless of age and social status.
Another threat is cyber-baiting, where criminals use the Internet to lure children into dating or even into criminal activities. This is usually done using social networks or chat rooms, where the attackers pretend to be peers. Criminals can use children to commit various crimes, such as drug trafficking, sexual exploitation, and money laundering.
Phishing is a type of scam in which criminals attempt to obtain personal information, such as your name, password, or credit card number. Criminals may send emails that look like they are from well-known companies or individuals and ask you to send them your details. This could lead to identity theft or financial loss. Criminals create fake profiles to lure children into online conversations. They can use attractive photos and names to gain credibility. Criminals can also use email to lure children into fraudulent schemes, provide children with fake information or ask them for help, money, etc.
Online games can be a source of many dangers for children. Criminals use games to find new victims or give dangerous information to children. Some games may contain violence, coarse language, or sexual content that is inappropriate for children. In addition, some games may have built-in messaging or chat capabilities where children may come into contact with dangerous individuals.
Sexual harassment is when an adult tries to have an intimate relationship with a child over the Internet. This can be extremely dangerous for children, as an adult can use the Internet to share messages, photos or videos that contain sexual content. This can lead to the child becoming a victim of sexual exploitation which would lead to a psychological trauma.
How to fight it
Despite all the threats listed above, the Internet is an incredibly useful tool for the development of our children. Therefore, it is impossible to stop using it. One thing remains - to protect children from negative influences. As parents, we need to be aware of potential threats and do everything we can to keep our children safe online.
Here are some tips
Talk to children about Internet safety. It is important to explain to children the potential dangers of the Internet and how to avoid them. Children should know what to do if they encounter unpleasant situations on the Internet.
Set restrictions on your device. There are many programs that can help restrict access to certain sites or set restrictions on Internet usage. This can be useful for protecting our children from accessing certain content or spending too much time online. Most modern operating systems have built-in access controls that allow you to limit the time children spend online and filter the content they can access. Adjust these settings according to your child's age and behavior.
Monitor children's activity on the Internet. Be aware of what your children are doing on the Internet. Check their browser history and their social media profiles and messages. This will help you understand which sites they visit and who they communicate with.
Teach your children to recognize dangerous content. Children need to know which information sources are reliable and safe, and which may hide dangers. Teach children to look for feedback, check sources, and contact you or the teacher if they have any concerns.
Protect personal information. Teach your children what information they can and cannot share online. For example, children should know that they should never share with strangers their personal information such as full name, address or phone number, passwords and logins.
Set a secure password. Don't let your child use passwords that are easy to guess. Good passwords should be complex and unique. Use dedicated password management programs if needed.
Be a role model. The most important thing is for parents to be role models for safe online behavior.
These are the main threats and methods of combating them, which we would like to draw your attention to. Consider that information technologies are developing at an incredible speed. Therefore, our recommendations may not be enough. Constantly follow the news related to safe behavior on the Internet and implement new methods of control to protect yourself and your child from negative influence.