More than any other generation, today’s youngsters have the handiest access to the internet and gadgets. Their phones, TVs, gaming consoles, and everything else have internet connectivity. Kids being online more than ever, must understand how to work around it securely. Children should learn basic techniques to prepare for a lifetime of cyber security.
According to the FBI Internet Crime Center Report (2015-2020), in 2020 the crime against children increased by 144% compared to 2019, which roughly translates to eight children per day facing online exploitation.
The National Crimes Record Bureau data, according to the Economic Times, states over a 400% rise in cybercrime cases committed against children in 2020 and that the top five states reporting cybercrimes against children in India are: Uttar Pradesh (170), Karnataka (144), Maharashtra (137), Kerala (107), and Odisha (71).
Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY-Child Rights and You, said, ‘While spending more time on the internet for accessing education and other communication purposes, children have also become more vulnerable to multiple risks, particularly in the contexts of online sexual abuse, grooming or sexual solicitation, sexting, exposure to pornography, production and circulation of child sexual abuse material, cyber-bullying, online harassment and cyber-victimization, and many other privacy-related risks’.
You may teach children to watch out for the following things online.
As a parent, one of the most important things we can do for our children is teach them cybersecurity awareness. In today’s world, children are exposed to technology at a young age and must understand the potential risks of using the internet.
- We can teach our children the importance of creating strong passwords. We can show them how to create a password that is easy to remember but difficult for others to guess. We can also teach them never to share their passwordswith anyone, even their friends.
- We can teach our children to be careful about what they share online. Once something is uploaded online, it’s there forever, and anyone can see it. We can encourage them to think twice before posting something online and always to consider the potential consequences.
- We can also teach our children to be cautious about clicking links or downloading anything online.For example, we can explain that some links or downloads contain viruses or malware that can harm their computer or steal their personal information.
- We can teach our children always to tell a trusted adultif they encounter anything online that makes them uncomfortable or receive inappropriate messages.
We can help our children stay safe online and protect their personal information by teaching them cybersecurity awareness. It’s never too early to start teaching them these important lessons, and the earlier we start, the better prepared they will be to navigate the digital world.
Kelly Mendoza, senior director of education programs for Common Sense Media, USA, says the nonprofit organization launched a revamped, free study material to educate young children about digital citizenship using cartoon characters — Digital Citizens — in songs and videos. “We know that song and movement is a great way to engage young kids,” Mendoza says, adding that it helps them to retain what they have learned.
Some questions teachers/elders can pose to children and elicit responses and generate discussions to bring in understanding and awareness.
- How do we find a happy balance between our online and offline activities?
- How do you say goodbye to technology when you don’t want to?
- How do you go places safely online?
- How can we be safe, responsible, and respectful online?
- Why is listening to your feelings when using technology necessary?
- How do you stay safe when visiting a website or app?
- Why must we have device-free moments in our lives?
- What kinds of information should I keep to myself when I use the internet?
- What information is okay to have in your digital footprint?
- What should you do if someone is mean to you online?
The internet is fantastic; it has cat memes, funny fails, and face filters. Sadly, not all internet users are that excellent. Some people use the internet to cause trouble and commit theft. Your children’s passwords include little personal information that a cybercriminal could discover in the internet content they publish. However, parents or guardians must take action to stop children from downloading the virus. For example, you can limit what can be downloaded and installed from the internet by using parental controls. Additionally, you can advise children to get parental approval before downloading or installing any items and ensure they only obtain from reputable sources.
Top 7 Dangers Children Face Online:
Posting Private Information
Falling for Scams
Accidentally Downloading Malware
Content that comes back to worry a child later in life
Cybercriminals frequently use the phishing scam, posing as someone else—typically a friend, a government agency, or a coworker—to acquire personal or financial information. Emails, phone calls, and text messages are all common platforms for phishing assaults. They might also appear on social media, game-related forums, and chat rooms. Phishing is an essential topic because kids probably have access to one (or all) of these communication channels.
While it’s common knowledge that kids these days are tech-savvy, this knowledge does not shield them from phishing. Instead, teach kids to be suspicious of information requests, regardless of how excellent or benign the offer seems. It’s the most effective approach to stop kids from falling for phishing scams. In addition, kids sometimes need to learn what information is okay to discuss and what isn’t. For instance, disclosing your birthday to everyone at school might be cool, but posting the same information online might be different. The same holds for other information, such as their full name, the school they attend, or the city in which they reside, which could appear less hazardous than they are.
How do I encourage my child to be more cyber secure when convincing them to put away their playthings is already difficult? Children may first be reluctant to learn about cyber security. But if you make them aware of the consequences of not doing so, you can persuade them to be more cyber secure in the long run. For example, they might experience identity theft or financial loss, resulting in losing in-game progress, in-app purchases, or access to a regular app. In addition, you can ensure your children are becoming more cyber-secure and defending themselves from cyber hazards by teaching them about phishing scams, safeguarding their accounts, and safe internet browsing.
As much as parents play a vital role, schools have an equal responsibility in teaching children the importance of being cyber secure and the precautions needed to stay away from cyberbullies. Post pandemic era requires every school, from nursery onwards to hold regular awareness programs and create an empathetic environment for the children to open up about the troubles they may have got themselves into and afraid of consequences.
At New Horizon schools, care is taken to usher in an ambiance of sensitivity and responsibility with the children, while they are engaged online with academic projects and assignments. They are encouraged to talk about any issues they may encounter while online and to tread with caution to avoid any trauma.
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