During the holidays, when the house is full and the kids are home from school, it can be tough to keep everyone entertained. Luckily for parents, there are so many ways to keep the family entertained with digital devices, whether it be a computer, tablet or cell phone. From playing games online, to scrolling through social media, or even simply surfing the web, there are tons of options for kids of all ages to cure their boredom during days off from school.
But how closely are you supervising when your children are using their devices? Chances are, you might see this as a parenting break, and that makes sense, but it pays to remember that there are threats your children might encounter on the Internet which could compromise their safety and privacy.
There are a variety of possible dangers in cyberspace to know about. Read on for information on risks to be aware of.
The fear of your children been taunted at school is anxiety inducing, and it shouldn’t be one that carries into the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is a real threat and can happen via any kind of electronic communication including social media, text messaging or email.
A wide-ranging category, cyberbullying refers to mean, rude and/or threatening activity conducted online. Since cyberbullying can happen through a variety of channels, there’s no concrete way to prevent it from happening to your child. But teaching them about the risks of online bullying, and monitoring their online activity from time to time, can help. You can also encourage them to be open with you about any negative messages they receive.
Personal Information Theft
While children aren’t likely to be shopping online, teenagers or young adults could be. And this means that sensitive information such as credit card numbers are potentially available to hackers on your electronic devices. This is why it’s important to protect your privacy online with anti-virus software that shields the private information of you and your kids from possible cyber criminals. To do this, you can purchase software for your device from a reputable company such as Malwarebytes, in order to ensure that you are protected against online scammers.
Inappropriate Spam Content
The Internet is full of content that is unfit for children to view. While you can’t block every inappropriate website or constantly monitor your teenager’s actions on the Internet, you can protect them from spam by teaching them what to look out for. Some examples include:
- Don’t open emails or texts from an unknown sender
- Avoid clicking pop-ups, and close them when needed
- Be suspicious of strange offers, like “get-rich-quick” scams and “too-good-to-be-true” messages
- Don’t engage with strangers online
Teaching your children best online practices like these can help protect them from inappropriate content, cyber predators and perhaps online threats from strangers and cyber criminals. But anti-malware software is important here, too, as it can help block potential threats from your child’s screen altogether.
A combination of parental surveillance, education and preventative software can keep you and your family safe from threats while using electronic devices this holiday season.