Google says: be smart, strong, brave, alert and kind in its Interland game for kids, training them to be responsible future digital citizens. All these five qualities are absolutely necessary for today’s parents too for dealing with their digital savvy children, exposed to 10x higher danger than they were in their own childhood.
Smart parenting involves teaching the children about the following five points from a very young age and following it religiously to inspire the kids.
- Always use strong passwords and never use the same password on many platforms.
- Rely on antivirus and malware preventing software, and keep them updated on the desktop, tablet and mobile.
- Do not overshare details about friends, family, school and other personal information. Always give only the necessary information to avail a service.
- Never befriend strangers online too and be warned about stranger danger. Teach them to use Nuwber to check a person’s identity before befriending anybody online.
- Don’t get addicted to games, videos or certain shows, and have a particular screen time. Do not indulge in watching or using the internet more than that particular time.
It is important for both the parents and the kids to follow these rules to avoid blame games and stay safe from the clutches of internet addiction, and creating numerous health issues due to unlimited screen time.
Be Strong and Supportive
Parents should be friendly and strict at the same time with the kids regarding their digital usage. Teach the kids to use the internet in a safe way and monitor their actions closely using parental control software. If your teenagers or pre-teens get into any type of issues, assure them you will help them.
There is ample support and advanced ways to track people who try to harm your child or blackmail them. Stay strong, supportive and seek the help of private or federal authorities to overcome the issue instead of blaming the children.
75% of criminals who lure children into sending their pictures or steal something like a parent’s credit card details, never contact the child if they refuse to heed once, strongly. The child should be taught to warn such people with a strict no or “I will call my parents, now.”
Teach your children it is ok to make mistakes and you will always support them no matter what. Building a strong family bond and trust as staying supportive of each other is the best way to handle digital blackmails and threats.
Always be Brave
Never lose your confidence and be brave when your children do not follow your advice or get addicted to digital devices. Use the technology wisely to eliminate the problem instead of blaming it as the root cause of the problem.
- If the children refuse to adhere to screen time use software like Norton family, Zift or unGlue. The software will automatically cut the internet after the allowed hours.
- Talk to your data provider and ensure only limited data is available for the children to use every single day which will highly limit their screen time and put an end to online gambling or gaming addiction.
- If children indulge in theft or take your credit card to pay for their games, warn them strictly. Sign up for two-factor authentication which requires you to feed an OTP whenever your card is used. The child cannot access your card without the OTP and pay or shop using your card.
- If the children are watching unwanted things on the internet, make them use the laptop or mobile only in the living room next to others. Set up a jammer in other rooms. Set up a parental control software like Bark that will warn you if violent or sexual content is accessed by your children.
- Never allow your children to meet the people they date online without doing a thorough background check. Allow them only to meet in a public place and ensure they have their location tracker turned on and they keep in touch with you every couple of hours.
Alert and Aware
A recent crime that shocked the police involved a high-profile lady lawyer being blackmailed with her nude pictures. She was shrewd enough to notice it was taken in her own home bathroom and requested the authorities to check all the cameras and workers in her home.
On further investigation, they found out the lawyer’s 7-year-old son, took the photos in her own mobile and sent it to the blackmailers. They gave him extra life to play his favourite video game without dying for a long time.
Stay alert and keep your children aware of such threats. Talk to them and educate them to come to you first, when such requests arise and not to yield to the temptations of strangers. Staying alert and creating awareness are both key parental duties as our vulnerable kids are cash cows to numerous online criminals.
Whether you are affected, your child is affected or someone you know in your circle is affected, be kind to them. There is no use in blaming yourself as a parent for not protecting the children or being foolish to trust someone. Wipe out the guilt and make it a point to stay alert from now on. Lend a kind ear to others and give them your support in every way.
Do not criticize your child or spouse, be kind to them and overcome the problem together with the help of technology. If you see your child cyberbullying someone or indulging in unlawful activities, warn them, cease their digital privileges and make them understand the rippling effects of their actions.
Teach your children to be kind and responsible too and never to discriminate against anybody based on their appearance or talent and bully them online. It is the duty of every parent to keep their child safe from the unkind digital world and also protect others from their child’s harsh actions. Teach the children not to lure or force others into unwanted traps like online gambling or watching unwanted content.