Internet Safety for Kids

June 1, 2022

Before the pandemic, managing your kid’s internet time was a lot easier since schools were largely in person and after school activities took up most of the evenings and even weekends.

Now two years into the pandemic, many of the trends adopted throughout this period are here to stay. Things like online school, video chat playdates, and the rise in popularity of online video games and social media are leading to more screen time for kids and young adults.

While the cloud keeps us connected to educators, friends, and family, it also can be a very dangerous place for young children. For some parents, especially full-time moms, this can be a lot to worry about.

Ensuring internet safety for your kids thankfully is easier today than ever before. It starts with understanding the different threats that kids might face online, education of digital citizenship, and utilizing solutions to help filter and monitor online content. And as a leading IT service provider, we believe it’s valuable to discuss topics that not only help improve the safety and security of your business, but also that which matters most - your family.

Most Common Internet Threats for Kids

Today’s digital landscape has provided an incredible opportunity for individuals and businesses alike, however, it’s also created an entirely new landscape of threats that endanger our children.

Here are the top risks to be aware of when your kids are on any internet-connected device:

1. Cyberbullying

This threat is present anywhere online communication is possible. Think direct messaging, group chats, online video gaming, social media platforms, and even forums like Reddit.

There are several ways cyberbullying can manifest, from offensive name calling to spreading rumors or explicit imagery or videos. Parents should also be aware of more subtle forms of online harassment including constant nagging of where your child is or what they are doing from someone other than a trusted caretaker. Less common occurrences include physical threats or having explicit images shared of your kid without their consent. Unfortunately, 59% of teens reported being exposed to some form of cyberbullying and girls are generally more impacted than boys.

2. Online Predators

Sadly, the internet is full of adults who are using it to target children. Ultimately these people are after sexual or other types of exploitation of their victim. Even though this is a serious crime, many adults online will still entice and “groom” children gradually without that child’s awareness. As a parent, you’ll want to block any and all communication to potential online predators.

3. Inappropriate Content

Especially on social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram, inappropriate and adult content is almost everywhere. Not limited to imagery and videos, vulgar language including sexual, racist, or violent statements can deeply impact young children in negative ways.

The Concept of "Digital Citizenship"

As more kids become avid internet users, coupled with the explosion in unregulated online content, many schools across the country are teaching “digital citizenship”. This is all about teaching kids to engage in their internet-connected devices in an appropriate, safe, and respectful manner.

There are five key concepts within the curriculum aimed at K-5 students: staying safe, protecting privacy and creating secure passwords, digital etiquette, prevention/detection of cyberbullying, and information literacy.

Solutions for Parents

While your children may be learning about digital citizenship at school, many can become curious and seek out these “bad things” to explore anyways. While CIPA has mandated schools to policy to limit kids’ exposure to these online threats, not all schools may have the most updated technology or policies in place to eliminate all types of exposure. Add to that, if your child has a smartphone, then odds are they will quickly run into something inappropriate if no additional precautions are taken.

This is where tools come into play, so that you can control the environment on your loved one’s personal device while they become more mature and empowered to make the right choices online.

We have compiled a list of internet safety solutions parents can employ to keep their children safe:

  • Apple Screen Time for Family - allows parents to set screen time limits with password protection. This can be especially helpful if you want to promote a healthy relationship around technology for your kids. Beyond that, iOS software allows you to block or limit specific apps and features on your kid’s device, in addition to selecting explicit website, music, movie, podcast, and TV show content. For a full explanation, you can check out Apple’s support page.
  • Microsoft Family Safety - a mobile app with similar features as offered by Apple described above. Some added features include gaming limits on Xbox, screen time requests and device usage summaries.
  • Qustodio - is a versatile parental control tool that offers web content filtering, a detailed activity log, specific application blocking, and an array of other monitoring features that help parents gain a deeper understanding of what their kids are doing online. Qustodio is a subscription-based plan that comes in packages such as Small where five devices are protected, Medium where ten devices are covered and Large where fifteen divides are protected.
Qostodio helps parents manage device usage of the family

  • Bark - Bark is a content monitoring platform that monitors text, email, YouTube and 30+ apps and social media platforms for signs of bullying or explicit content. Bark is designed to be very intuitive providing parents with detailed monitoring and alerts via text and email when Bark’s algorithm detects suspicious behavior.
Bark is a comprehensive solution
  • KidsGuard - KidsGuard is a monitoring solution that provides detailed monitoring of both Andriod and Apple cell phones as well as tablets and computers providing more comprehensive coverage compared to other phone-based monitoring solutions. mSpy even offers a free mobile tracker that combines a variety of premium features on top of free cell phone tracking.
KidsGuard features and capabilities

There shouldn’t be any guesswork in knowing your children are protected and we believe the same should go for your business. Here at Techmedics, we partner with organizations to deliver top-tier IT consulting services, comprehensive Managed IT and effective Managed Security. It’s our mission to help business owners and organization leaders strategically manage their IT initiatives through unparalleled professional IT services.

Contact us today to learn how we deliver a comprehensive portfolio of services and solutions to keep your business protected.

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