The internet is a wild place, with rules so lax it’s often referred to as the “wild, wild west”. Yes, I’m talking about the very same wild, wild west that Billie the Kid, James Dean, and Yosemite Sam all belong to. There are almost no rules (except for Godwin’s law but that’s not a real one). Normally, as an adult you can filter out the garbage, but your children don’t have that kind of filter.
When your daughter asks Siri to search the internet for photos of Jasmine, she meant the Disney character, not the exotic dancer. When your son searches for the latest episode of Transformers, a real link looks the same as one laden with a Trojan virus. They’ll learn the ins and outs of the internet on their own, but as a parent, what can you teach them before they see exotic Jasmine’s latest outfit.
Kids don’t naturally have a filter, it has to be taught. Yes, it may seem like they’re losing their innocence, but giving full names and addresses is a huge no-no on the internet. Even if the person they shared the information with isn’t intending any harm, depending on how they share it, anyone might be able to read!
Instead of using YouTube to find video entertainment… try pointing your child towards Netflix. They have a kid’s zone which contains mostly kid-friendly movies and TV series’… instead of whatever the wild, wild west thinks would get views. Among the strategies YouTube channel holders commonly use to gain popularity is to shock and disgust.
Online bullying in games and in chat rooms is quite common, with as many as 1 in 3 youth being affected by it. It can come in many forms, whether it’s racist comments in team chat on their favorite multiplayer game or maybe it’s a series of harassing emails from another student at their school.
It’s important that kids talk about harassment, and for parents to tell kids it’s ok to talk about being harassed. They aren’t capable of handling it all on their own and they shouldn’t have to!
There are dangers both to your kids and to your computer as well. One of those is dangers are Trojan Viruses. These things piggy back on legitimate programs and trick you because it installs with them. They are easily added to “cracked” (unlocked) games you can torrent over questionable service providers. The best thing you can do is get software, games, movies, and more serious applications, from reputable sources.
It’s not very hard to stay safe if you’re aware and alert. Kids can only be aware of what they know is a problem, so it’s your job to enlighten them!
What other things do you think your kids should know about using the internet? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments in the ‘Leave a reply’ section below.