It kinds of bamboozles me how parents have such low internet safety IQs, leaving their kids with so many online dangers. They feel ill-equipped and uniformed, having no clue about how to protect their kids. Parents should realize that their kids are digital natives and they are the digital immigrants. Kids can exhibit a level of digital proficiency that might be bewildering to most of us and not just the parents.
Kids are forced into posting provocative photos and videos on different blogs, chat rooms and websites. How easily kids reveal their extremely personal experience over public forums. Over years, different destructive elements have all come together, setting a stage for the perfect storm. So I will be educating parents on how they can develop their digital proficiency to protect their kids in this digital age.
Tech-Savvy kids are resorting to cyberspace to bully their peers. Online bullying has increased with a rising smartphone trend. Every kid owns at least some electronic device that makes them part of internet victimization. These cyber bullies remain virtually anonymous. Considering it costs nothing to make new email accounts for pseudonyms for Instant messaging apps, chat rooms etc.
There are different cyberbullying tactics that every parent should know about.
Exclusion: it’s a deliberate harassment move to exclude someone from an online group conversation.
Gossip: posting cruel gossip to family and peers, damaging the reputation of a person.
Impersonation: using someone else’s online account to send embarrassing messages to others. An example would be leaving your Facebook account signed-in on some public computer and finding anomalous activity on it the next time you log-in.
Cyber-stalking: involves sending intimidating messages for threatening others.
Trickery: baiting someone into revealing personal secrets or embarrassing info.
Flaming: online fights that may include hateful and offensive messages.
Cyber-threats: response from the threatened person may involve violent behavior or suicidal tendencies which is posted on websites, forums etc.
Well it’s not just kids vs. kids. Unlike cyber bullying, online predators camouflage, learning all the drills required to speak in teen’s language on internet.
This opportunities didn’t exist before internet’s advent. Offline, pedophiles are very low profile, often living in alienation. But with ability to interact online with kids, their socially deviant behavior is fueled. There are few factors why online predators have turned so active:
- Internet’s gift of anonymity and easy access to children.
- Youth’s careless and risky behavior.
- Access to child pornography ‘a la carte’
Access to Explicit Content
Parents worry about the idea that their kids can get exposed to inappropriate content unintentionally. However, they skip the part where kids seek out for porn. Under both scenarios, the kid is actually viewing content that they shouldn’t otherwise. What Parents can do is check their kids’ internet browsing history using a smartphone monitoring too.
‘Think before you post’ is a contemporary proverb, because once something gets online, it’s impossible to remove it. Kids can be victims of their own inexperience with electronic devices. Kids like to do it because everyone else is doing it. Cameras and cell phones are everywhere and even the tiniest moments of public embarrassment are at risk of being captured.
As long as parents learn how to deal with these problems, they will not have to worry. New social issues have emerged. We will covering all other aspects of internet safety as we go on and remember these 4 cyber dangers are not the only ones out there.