Online Child Safety
This is a short presentation at a national television station (TVC) in commemoration of online child safety day duly sponsored by National Information Technology Development Agency Nigeria. Hopefully you will enjoy the writeup and also get good understanding on how to secure your children in this interconnected world.
How safe or insecure can a child’s online presence be?
A child’s online presence can be said to be insecure when:
- engages with and/or is exposed to potentially harmful CONTENT. Sexual pornographic content, racist/hateful content and or malicious embedded advert.
- experiences and/or is targeted by potentially harmful CONTACT. Such as harassment or stalking, grooming, sexual abuse in form of sex — texting and personal data misuse
- witnesses, participates in and/or is a victim of potentially harmful CONDUCT. Such as bullying, gambling, potential harmful content.
- is party to and/or exploited by a potentially harmful CONTRACT.
Should a Child’s Personal Information (about themselves and their families) be limited online?
Yes. There is a saying that goes by “Internet does not forget” Whatever a person either adult or children post remains there even if it is deleted. Internet logs users’ activities. If a child shares heavy personal information online, s/he is exposing the family, and that’s breach of privacy.
Internet is everybody’s room, sharing information online makes it available for anyone who cares to see online. They will be expose to different attacks both cyber and physical attacks.
For example, a child that shares the story of his/her unsettled family is liable to fall for cyber predators (people that exploit younger people, especially sexually, financially, emotionally etc)
How often do adults talk with their children about what they’re doing online?
Every time. Whatever you repeat sticks. We live practically on the web. Nevertheless, be in their world and know what’s trending. Have discussions on trending issues. Tell them the right thing not only the consequences. Be their Cybergister
Should children accept friend/follower requests on social media from strangers?
No. they don’t need stranger as a friend, they are still young. This can expose them to different cyber-attacks.
Should adults have discussions about what their children can do online, or set boundaries for technology or Internet use?
Both, it is important to discuss what their children can do online, make them understand and be ready to listen to their point of view too. Don’t just enact a policy. If they don’t do it at home does not mean they wont do it in other places. Use technology to implement your agreement and tell them it is for their protection.
Do adults know what to do if a child came to you and said something online upset him or her?
The adult should be ready to create time to listen to the child. The adult should be ready to explain to the child the action and what the child can do to prevent such. In case where the adult does not understand, he should seek help. Such adult must not condemn such child. Online activities have a lot to do with a child’s emotion and psychology.
How can children practice safe browsing?
- Children must not share passwords online.
- Children must create and use strong password. Simple to remember and hard to guess
- They must not install any game application without taking permission from parent
- Set rules for online communication, they must not talk to strangers
- They must not click on links carelessly
- Show them what you are doing online as they will imitate you
- Install online safety tool
How can children ensure to make online purchases from secure Sites?
- They should never use the same password for online transactions
- They should never purchase from any site that does not use https
- They should use 2FA (2 factor authentication such as password and smartcard or password and OTP)
What can be done to prevent children from spending long hours online and causing their unproductivity in other areas of life?
- Discourage use of phone while doing homework
- Enlighten them about the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones
- Decide and engage in media free family time
- Activate “Do not disturb” on smartphones during family free time
- Use sites like www.commonsensemedia.org to help decide movie, video, apps that is age appropriate. This provides you with other knowledge needed to talk your children
- Engage in family activities that promote bonding and wellbeing such as reading, sport and chatting
In a Gen-Z era, creating policy and forcing them to obey will not help at all. As parent do well to be in their world, know what's trending, don’t be too busy to gist cyber related matter, hear their view, tell them yours too and let them understand your standpoint on the matter. Be on the same page with them and agree together. Don’t force them to comply at home, because they can easily violate outside the house. Be their Cyber Gister!