Child sexual exploitation and cyber-stalking are becoming common in the digital world. As of 2018, India was home to 400 million internet users and reported 27,000 cases of cybercrimes as compared to 12,000 in 2016, according to data released by Statista.
At this rate, more children are vulnerable to bad players online. The threat is magnified particularly when their screen time has significantly increased during thecoronavirus pandemic and the subsequent self-isolation phase. As schools and colleges are shut down, institutions are moving online to resume classes and complete syllabus as per schedule; on various platforms. Data sharing and privacy issues of these platforms are seldom discussed. Apart from daily studies, now children and teenagers cooped inside homes are also hooked to their smartphones and tablets for entertainment purposes.
It is now crucial for parents and guardians to keep their personal information safe and protect them from cyber threats. Wondering how? Have a look.
Ø Monitor their Online Activities
Digital technology cannot be taken out of a child’s life. But active monitoring can help keep them keep away potential dangers. Instead of restricting their internet usage, ask them to add you as a friend on social media. This way, you can check the comments on their posts, what kind of photos are being shared from their account and who they are interacting with.
Ø Educate Them on Proper Online Practices
Teach your child the do’s and don’ts of the internet during this coronavirus pandemic. They should not be sharing passwords, home address, account numbers or any sort of personal information online without consulting you. Make sure they are not clicking on any random links or emails sent from non-trusted websites or anonymous e-mail IDs. Help them know the difference between real and fake profiles. This will help them stay alert.
Ø Provide Alternative Sources of Engagement
Side effects of extensive phone usage and prolonged exposure to screensare plenty; try to keep them away from young children. Engage them instead in funactivities like toys, coloring books, playgrounds and mingling with friends.
While playgrounds and meeting friends remain out-of-bounds in the Coronavirus pandemic, you can steer them towards other activities like helping in household work, learning to make their favourite sweet dishes or engaging them in story-telling sessions.
Ø Help Them Understand Dangers of Online Transactions
There are plenty of onlinefitness training videos, workshops and quiz contests that can steal private information.Websites can offer monetary prizes through links for various competitions online. Children should be made aware of the risks of sharing photos online on random websites or with random people on social media, since child trafficking and pornography are on the rise. Make sure they know how to make secured payments while purchasing anything. The safest way is to you being present every time transactions are being done.
Ø Report Crimes
In case you feel the child is under threat or there has been a misuse of their information, do report to the cyber-crime cell immediately. Coronavirus outbreak has led to huge job losses, which could make many people conduct thefts online.
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Internet is a huge boon for the young generation, provided they understand how to use it properly. By proper guidance and knowledge, you can keep your child protected from cybercrimes.