3 Ways Parents Can Safeguard their Household’s Online Safety
The internet has reached nearly any part of the world. Studies show that one in every three kids in the United States, Europe, and other regions now uses the internet. In the near future, the number of kids using the internet will continue to increase. A recent study showed that kids in the west are begging to think of internet access as a basic right or necessity.
When used correctly, the internet is a good thing. It facilitates entertainment, offers learning opportunities, allows children to interact with their friends, and more. However, the internet is a double-edged sword. On the flip side, it poses many threats to children, teens, and even adult users. Some of these threats include sexual harassment, sexting, invasion of the kids’ privacy, identity theft, and cyberbullying.
This is the main reason parents must monitor their children’s online activities. Your children trust you, and that’s your opportunity to talk to them about their online safety. Let them know that they can always turn to you whenever they sense danger online. Generally, understanding what your kids and teens do online is essential when it comes to protecting them from internet-related threats. Here are three effective ways to ensure online safety for your kids and household.
1. Use an encrypted network at home
Today’s home network includes a broad range of wireless devices such as phones, computers, smart TVs, IP Cameras, and other connected appliances. Using a wireless connection needs an internet access point like a DSL modem or cable to a router (wireless), which sends a signal via air for as far as 100 feet. That means that the devices within range can access the internet via that signal.
Unless you take the right precautions, your neighbors and hackers nearby can access your network. They can ‘piggyback’ on that network and access data from your devices. In case an authorized person uses your household’s network to commit a crime, that activity will be traced to your account.
To address this issue, you must use encryption on your home’s wireless network. Encrypting the data you send over your home’s wireless network prevents nearby hackers from eavesdropping on your communications. So, install a VPN router to ensure that all the traffic within your home’s network is encrypted. Also, a VPN router can successfully hide your IP address and encrypt other devices connected to it. This will block hackers from seeing your internet activity.
2. Keep all your devices’ OS up-to-date
Keeping your devices’ OS and other software up-to-date is an effective way of minimizing the risk of a security breach and malware infection. Most software updates include new features, security patches, and bug fixes. Delaying or ignoring operating system updates exposes your home computers, phones, and other devices to internet security threats. Also, OS updates offer users new features and improved functionality.
Keep in mind that system updates are usually designed to protect users from various levels of cyberattacks. Ignoring them may prove critical to the overall functioning of your home devices. Sure, your children may not understand the importance of updating device systems. But you should always do it for them.
3. Install parental safety software
Despite the AAP’s recommendation to choose and view online content with your kids, the advent of internet-connected devices has made it more challenging for parents to monitor and limit their kids’ online activities. Today, children as young as 9 years spend more than three hours daily accessing the internet, according to a recent study. These habits are likely to worsen, and this exposes your child to the dangers associated with various forms of internet content.
The chances are that you have already enacted robust protection features on your kids’ devices. However, you need to download and install parental control software. This will help you monitor what your children are doing online. You will be able to know when your kid is being bullied or introduced to content that they shouldn’t be accessing.
Today’s parents are raising a new generation of techie children. Teens text to communicate while toddlers are using tablets and iPads. It is the duty of the parents to ensure that their children are not exposed to internet threats.
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