How to protect children from online frauds and keep them safe


While parents can and should teach their children Internet safety, technological solutions are also required. Children often know enough about the Internet to get around blocking software and other technology designed to keep them safe.

While parents can and should teach their children Internet safety, technological solutions are also required. Children often know enough about the Internet to get around blocking software and other technology designed to keep them safe.

Internet Savvy Generation


One of the reasons it's become so difficult to protect children online is that many of today's children know more about Internet and related technology than their parents. Many elementary school children know how to use webcams to post photos and videos online, how to get online using mobile devices and how to set privacy on social media sites so that parents and other adults can't monitor what they are doing.

In order to protect children online, adults need to become as technologically savvy as their children. There is a real need for courses for parents about how to use the Internet, mobile technology and social media technology so that they can keep up with what their kids are doing.

Social Media and Anonymity


The popularity of social media sites has made it a lot easier for people to post anonymously. Although sites such as Facebook attempt to require people to use their real identities, it is impossible to monitor the identities of millions of people. Technologically savvy children quickly learn how to trick systems into thinking they are adults so that they can have full access to these sites; similarly, predators can pretend to be children or pretend to be adults that can be trusted such as police officers or teachers.

Due to these problems, it's easier than ever for predators to get children's personal information and to arrange face-to-face meetings with them. Most sites have policies in place to protect underage users such as requiring parental permission to access certain features or enhancing privacy controls on underage accounts. However, these measures only work if children acknowledge that they are underage when signing up. Providers of technology have not yet come up with a way of verifying identities that consistently works and doesn't cause people who are using a pseudonym for a legitimate reason to lose access to the site.

Privacy Settings


Conscientious parents monitor their children's Internet activity. However, many children resent having parents look over their shoulder and find ways to hide their online activities from them. Customized privacy controls allow children to do just that. Children often hide status updates or other information that they don't want their parents to see. This enables them to break safety rules without their parents' knowledge.

Similarly, many children are able to figure out how to get around filtering software or other software that is designed to block their access to sites their parents deem unsuitable.

Parents do have a responsibility to teach their children safety rules and to make sure those rules are being followed, but it is increasingly difficult to do so when children have superior knowledge of the Internet and the ability to get around rules designed for their protection. Technological companies can assist parents in protecting their children online by offering filtering software that is harder for children to circumvent and by helping educate parents about how to use the Internet.

Read How to set up Parental Controls on MacBook laptop


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