It’s said that children nowadays are born with a tablet in their hands, which they very soon find out to be an endless source of entertainment. Thus, parents can continue to mind their lives in peace, while the little ones spend entire hours silently surfing the world wide web and discovering what their parents, when they were their age, probably had no idea about.
Kids get so digitally-savvy that I even heard of a 2-year old who taught himself to skip YouTube ads. He just kept his finger above the “close ad” option and after precisely 5 seconds he tapped on it until it disappeared. The kid didn’t know how to count or read and I doubt that he had a proper notion of time, yet he taught himself how to reach his desired content faster.
Therefore, whether we like it or not, our children will have access to the Internet. It’s really up to us to teach them how to use it wisely, though, because as in the offline life, there are some ground rules which need to be established offline as well, with all the dangers lurking in.
- The web doesn’t need to know who we are
When we’re online, our most prized possession is our personal identity, which can be easily found out with the help of our IP (the unique set of numbers our devices are assigned with, often repeatedly, when we connect to the Internet and which can be used to identify us).
So, in order to protect our children’s activity online and save them from being easily identified by hackers, stalkers and other digital villains, a VPN is the best solution. This online privacy tool replaces our children’s devices’ IP with a new one from a random server located all over the world, rendering us anonymous and undetectable online. Teach your children to surf the web only while CyberGhost VPN is active, which is also an efficient tool against malware.
Furthermore, it’s best to also tell children that personal information such as full name, address, email address, phone numbers, birth date don’t need to be revealed online, and an alternative online persona is probably a good idea.
- The online version of “Stranger Danger”
We’ve all been advised, regardless of our generation, not to talk to strangers.
As antisocial as this may sound, it’s the best precaution against potentially dangerous people.
That is why this simple rule should also apply online and we should our children to only use the Internet to chat to those people they know, like their friends, family or classmates.
- The Internet is forever
Even if we feel that what we post on our social media channels will only be available to our friends or for a limited number of hours, nothing really disappears on the Internet and it can resurface when we expect it least and then even be used against us.
PS: we recommend setting children’s social media channels as private, no need for them to be easily discovered by the above-mentioned strangers.
- Make sure your child is always using updated software
Whether we’re discussing anti-virus software, social media apps or web browsers, updates are always recommended, since they often include important security patches, which keep us better protected when we are online.
- Things are not always what they seem
Teach kids to be more selective with their clicks when they are online. Many banners are just clickbaits, abundant in viruses or malware. CyberGhost VPN is a great idea to prevent malware.
- Stay involved
Although we do not recommend an excessively intrusive behavior, keeping an eye on our children’s online activity and persona can be a good idea. For example, their social media friend list can reveal potentially dangerous people, that should not have anything to do with them
- Now let’s discuss what you can do
Sharing the joy of a newborn baby, the kid’s anniversary or his/her first day in school, has become a cliché on Facebook but it is often ignored that posting photos of children has some repercussions under certain laws.
A recent Facebook campaign raised concerns from the French police. The motherhood challenge, which became viral, encouraged parents to post 3 photos of their children and choose another 10 people to do the same thing.
However, as France’s national police warned, this can later turn against the parents. Under French law this practice is an invasion of their privacy. Under article 226-1 this can be punished with one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.
Furthermore, kids will grow up and they may be embarrassed, laughed at or even bullied for pictures of them that can be easily found online.
So discretion is not only advised when it comes to us online, but to all the young ones that cannot yet express their approval/disapproval of content posted of them.