The internet has made our lives so much easier. We can access all kinds of information just with a single tap of our finger. However, there is also a dark side of the internet that can be accessed easily from anywhere, anytime.
Adults can protect themselves from all sorts of risks and threats associated with the internet. However, we cannot expect our kids and teens to do the same. Unfortunately, they are not clever enough to identify online dangers that threaten them while they are using the internet.
When you search for ways to protect your loved ones, especially your kids on the internet, you will come across results telling you to use parental controls and monitoring apps to do that. Ads for the best spy app for Android and iPhone will flash before you, tempting you to give them a try because you’re desperate to try anything that keeps your kids protected online.
Before you can give these tools a try, you need to first understand how the internet can be threatening for your kids. Below, we have discussed different types of internet dangers that you need to know to keep your kids safe from them.
How Can the Internet Be Threatening for Your Kids?
Let us discuss a few internet dangers that your kids can be exposed to while they are spending their time online. Once you understand them, you can talk about them with your kids and teach them ways to protect themselves on the internet.
When kids are browsing the internet, they will come across several tempting ads and pop-ups. Those flashy ads will tempt them so much that they would want to open them up to see what they are all about.
Most of the ads your kids will come across online are usually scams and fake ones. These online scams can lure your kids into opening them. These ads might contain malicious software that may infect your kid’s mobile device or the computer.
Kids need to be aware of these fake ads and scams and do not fall for their trap. If they ignore the ads and browse the internet without paying attention to them, they can stay safe from unwanted viruses.
The presence of online predators shouldn’t come as a surprise for parents. The internet, especially social media and gaming platforms are laden with sexual predators who are always in the search of young and innocent kids whom they can trap with their sweet talks.
First, they target the kid, pretend to be of their age, become friends with them, gain their trust, and then demand them to do inappropriate things for them such as sharing inappropriate images and videos.
After gaining access to such intimate content, these online predators may blackmail the kid and his family for money or even sell the content to the dark internet for a hefty amount. In other cases, online predators trap kids on the internet only to meet them inperson and engage in sexual activity with them.
Kids need to be aware of strangers on the internet. They should not add people on social media whom they do not know in real life. They should also avoid responding to messages from unknown people online. They should also not share their personal information with others. This is the only way to stay away from online predators.
When kids are using the internet, they tend to forget how important is their online privacy. They use social media to connect with their friends and share information with them. However, they often forget that there are more strangers on the internet than their friends. Kids should know that whatever they post online will stay permanent even if they delete it and it might come back to haunt them in the worst way possible.
Everything that they share on the internet, even after applying privacy settings to the data, will permanently be stored on the internet database and can be retrieved anytime they want. Therefore, they should be mindful while sharing their personal information online because it can be accessed by anyone.
Sometimes, kids might put up an inappropriate photo of themselves on social media for fun and excitement without realizing that the same content can jeopardize their reputation at school. They might also not land a good job with a damaged repute.
Kids should always pay close attention to what sort of information they are sharing with others online. They should never post anything embarrassing online and use privacy settings so no stranger can see their information.
Exposure to Adult Content
Another major online danger kids can come across while using the internet is exposure to adult content. They can easily stumble upon porn and sexually explicit content on the internet. With a single tap of the finger, they can enter the world of pornography. Whether they are looking for it or not, they can see it everywhere online.
No parent would want their kids to get exposed to porn at a young age because exposure to porn can damage young minds. When kids are young, their brains are still developing and forming core values. When they happen to come across porn, they can have a wrong impression about sex and relationships and take it in a negative light. All in all, porn can damage their views on sacred relationships such as friendship and marriage.
Accidental exposure to porn can trigger the young minds of kids and they may be tempted to look for more such stuff on the internet. Therefore, kids need to stay away from adult content while they are using the internet.
Gone are the days when bullying was restricted in the classrooms or playgrounds. With the advent of the internet, bullies can now find their victims on the internet and harass them behind the computer/cell phone screens.
Almost every kid has experienced bullying at some point in their lives. Cyberbullying has made it even easier for bullies to reach out to their victims and send them threatening and harmful messages whenever they want.
Most kids remain silent when they are being bullied by someone. The same goes for cyberbullying. They do not share their experiences with their parents and suffer in silence which can have a negative impact on their mental health.
Cyberbullying can lead kids to develop signs of anxiety, experience bouts of depression, and have suicidal thoughts. The only way to prevent cyberbullying is to teach your kids to open up with you. Kids should go to their parents if someone tries to bully them online. Report cyberbullying incident so the perpetrator gets punished for the wrongdoings.
Android spy and iPhone spy apps can also be installed on your kid’s phones to monitor their messages and find traces of bullying there. Apps can be used when kids do not cooperate with their parents and remain hushed about it.
When we talk about addiction, usually drug abuse, smoking, and alcoholism come to our minds. However, we do not realize that the use of the internet and social media is itself a major addiction. Most kids have internet and social media addiction and yet they do not realize it. Even parents fail to understand that.
When kids use the internet way more than they should, they can become severely addicted to it. The constant exposure to the internet can increase the risk of porn addiction. It can also increase the risk of getting health problems such as poor eyesight, poor posture, and lack of sleep.
Kids who spend a huge amount of time playing games on the internet can become addicted to online gaming which is again, associated with the excessive use of the internet. Therefore, parents need to watch out how much time their kids are spending online. Watch out for any behavioral changes in your kids and see what is causing them to behave this way.
Parents can help their kids from these threatening online dangers by educating themselves about these dangers. They should have open and honest conversations with their kids and give them confidence that they are with their kids no matter what happens.
Last but not least, use parental controls and spy apps to monitor kid’s activity on the internet to protect them from these harmful dangers.