The internet has opened up a whole new world for us as a society. Like it or not our children manage the internet far better than we grown-ups do, so that means that it is
important to be mindful of the sites that your child is visiting. The internet and mobile technology are also amazing communication tools and has revolutionised how we speak to friends, family, loved ones and colleagues. From, SKYPE, WhatsApp, Facebook and even webinars, you can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time and may have never even physically met them in your life. This of course, poses a big problem when it comes to knowing who your children are talking to. It is estimated that over 60% of the internet could contain explicit material not suitable for young people, that means that without the correct software to guard against these threats and risks, your child could be exposed to a lot of very unsuitable material, without you knowing anything about it.
Unsuitable content on the internet is more than just explicit, there is also content that sets to shock, groom and expose young people to a range of dangers. Real people sit behind real computers ready to use the internet and social media as one of the most powerful tools to exploit the young and the vulnerable.
When you are able to monitor what your children are seeing on the internet you can take that important step forward in protecting them.
Protecting Your Children from People on the Internet
The internet is full of people who are ready to exploit, groom, radicalise, troll, bully and commit crimes with complete anonymity. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites are a very easy platform for people who want to find vulnerable children on the internet.
Many adults who prey on young people will simply go onto these sites and will create a fake profile that will enable them to befriend, groom and entice children to meet them in real life. Every year there are over 140,000 children in the UK, under the age of 18 who go missing and vanish and that means that it is more important than ever for parents to know who their kids have as friends on social media as well as who they are communicating with.
As a parent, it is a good idea to monitor your children’s profiles and keep an eye on what they are posting. It’s not spying or “creeping” as my niece would say, it’s safeguarding your children from potential dangers. You want to make sure that you are also familiar with the lingo or social media terminology, as there is a completely different language that is used in texting from what is used in everyday life. This lingo is something that parents need to know as it is used by teenagers and children to communicate with others. It can be a source of problems for parents if they do not know how to interpret the messages. As a parent, you want to make sure that you Google popular texting acronyms so that you will know what is going on and what to expect as you see these communications coming in.
Understanding the Dark Web
In addition to the regular internet, there is another threat that is lurking on the world wide web, that is called the dark web. The dark web is a platform that can be accessed by an anonymous browser only, like Tor. The dark web is a place that people go to buy drugs, guns, carry out human trafficking, there are also terrorist organisations that operate on the dark web. Some teenagers think that it might be fun, or cool to go to the dark web and to see what they can find. The problem with this is, the dark web is a place of criminals and others who would harm your child.
Without the proper know-how, encryption, and other modes of technology to protect your identity, it is possible for people to pick up your IP address when you visit sites on the dark web. Your IP address is your internet protocol address and if not masked properly, people can map it to your physical address and do you harm. As a parent, there is nothing more important than making sure that you are keeping your child away from the dark web and all of the danger that it can pose.
The internet can be a very dangerous place for children and as a parent; you must know what your child is doing and restrict their contacts to the circle of friends that they know in real life. This is a way to protect them from harm and also to ensure that you know about their interactions and what they are seeing and doing.
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