How to educate yourself to keep your children safe online

Internet Safety day was celebrated across the globe of 6th February, 2018 but do the parents of today young generation really realize how important is to act as a guardian not only offline but also online? Learn how major agencies recommend becoming a part of your young one's online life and make it secure.

Equifax conducted a research in the UK recently to know how much parents are aware of their children activities online. The results are quite surprising indeed with 80% of the parents completely in the dark what their children do online and less than half (45%) realizing that any content their children post online can stay online forever even after getting deleted from the social media account. Though few parents (30%) do follow their children on social media the information they see is limited to what the children share with them, private messages and surfing history is still hidden the parents. The theme of Safe Internet day this year was 'Create, Connect and Share Respect - A better internet starts with you', which highlights how important it is for the parents to play a responsible role in supervising their children activities online.

There are roles that parents and children both need to play to make the internet a safer place for a family. While it is obviously a parent responsibility to keep a tab on their children activity online, it is also necessary that a sense of responsibility is built into the child which guides him/her as to what and what not to do online. Though the parents are still the guardians of the child, that does not mean that parents supervision should become so overbearing that children start looking for other avenues to go online. As the Equifax-commissioned study rightly mentions:

... study reveal that many parents are concerned about how much time their children spend online, so much so that one in five confiscate smartphones and tablets at bedtime to limit the time their children can spend online. Russell Winnard continued: "It is great to see parents taking responsibility for limiting time spent online, but confiscation of devices isn't a solution in itself. Parental controls are available on most devices and can limit what the child does and sees, as well as how much time they can spend online each day.

Social networking websites usually have a requirement of being at least 13 years old for signing up but there is no actual check to verify this leading to a large number of younger children easily accessing these websites, sometimes without the knowledge of their parents. And if we talk about the internet at large, most websites have no check for age requirements. The need for surveillance by parents should not hamper the freedom of children to use the internet and for this parental control software and apps can be of a great use.

Another major issue that the Equifax sponsored study highlighted is how naively the parents share the photos and videos of their children online, sharing even the minute details of their lives, forgetting the notion of privacy which otherwise they care about so much in their offline life. Media files shared online are not necessarily deleted once you have deleted them from the social media accounts. They can be backed up for purposes that might or might not be to your liking. Also, sharing details about the life of your child can make him/her an easy victim of Identity Theft. In addition to voluntary revealing information of social media websites, we also stay at a risk of leaking our very private information through the "smart" devices we use nowadays. Integrating these devices into our lives we have given them unhindered access to our private lives like our daily schedule, our likes, and dislikes, our taste in food and a lot more. Equifax has created a great Infographic which tells you what precautionary steps you can take to allow this type of Identity Theft.

Infographic Credit: Equifax Infographic: Are smart gadgets putting you at risk of identity theft?
Ebook: How to stay safe online eBook by Equifax


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