The number of children on the internet has increased dramatically in recent years. According to a study conducted by Unicef, 1 in 3 internet users are school-age children and adolescents. These expressive numbers reinforce the importance of working on children’s safety and behavior in the digital environment. This “mission” is assigned to parents and educators, responsible for the initial training of these individuals.
Some parents are not sure how to guide their children, but fear for their safety on the internet. Some parents, who have a greater affinity for technology, use software and applications to promote control over Internet use. Like, for example, sites that feature pornographic content and incite violence.
This software also allows you to control access times to social networks, and other applications, which prevents unsupervised use of the internet. However, it is important to report, that it is essential that parents talk to their children frequently about this topic. Maintaining an open dialogue on digital media is of paramount importance for the safety of children.
Exposure and sending information
One of the main guidelines that parents should pass on to children is not to inform personal data on networks without authorization and supervision. Not only personal data, such as: name, address etc, avoiding excessive exposure of your daily life on the internet is very important. Establishing some rules for sending photos is also a valid premise to protect children and adolescents on the internet.
Another relevant point is to have unrestricted access to the social networks of children and adolescents. In possession of the credentials, the guardians must supervise the actions taken by their children on the internet, prioritizing their safety.
Fake profiles and the false sense of anonymity
It is necessary to guide children about fake profiles, anonymity and the false sense of anonymity that the internet provides. Teach them that some malicious people create profiles using other people’s photos and names to commit crimes of all kinds.
These fake profiles are often used by pedophiles to approach children. Supervising the children’s conversations and instructing them not to exchange photos with strangers or to arrange meetings is very important. Another point to be discussed is the false sense of anonymity that one has on the internet. Children should be advised that on the internet and outside, they are the same person, therefore, they must act correctly and respectfully inside and outside the digital environment.
The dangers of online games
Online games, harmless as they may seem, can bring serious problems associated with digital security. Sites for downloading applications or direct access to games are perfect baits for hosting malware that can infect devices and cause damage. It is worth mentioning that the problem is not limited to computers, but shared use mobile devices. This type of compromise can lead to the hijacking of personal data (ramsonware), capture of bank passwords and other problems causing financial losses.
However, financial losses do not characterize the biggest problems associated with online games. This environment has also been used by malicious individuals to coerce children and adolescents, resulting in crimes of the most varied types, including pedophilia, fraud, kidnapping, among others.
Sites that encourage the safe use of the internet by children
There are some websites that teach children the basics of security and digital citizenship. A great example in this sense is “Be Internet Awesome”, an initiative by Google, supported by other institutions, which makes available a variety of materials, such as games, manuals, activities, highly playful training to introduce children to the concept of digital citizenship.
Here in Brazil we can highlight another site aimed at children on the internet, it is the “Safe Internet”, initiative of nic.brand cgi.br that provides guidance on the safe use of the internet. It is a very complete documentation that serves as a reference for educators and parents, interested in spreading concepts associated with digital security.
The examples cited are examples of highly relevant initiatives, however it is also possible to obtain knowledge from other references, national and international, as follows: SaferNet, Family Online Safety and Connect Safely.
These sites provide playful ways to teach citizenship and digital security, in addition to bringing news and current topics on digital security to children and adolescents.
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