Protecting Kids' Privacy Online: A Guide For Parents

December 08, 2022 4 min read

security and privacy for children

Do you know it’s possible to help your children become safe online by telling them never to reveal their personal details, respond to unfamiliar emails, or trade pictures with strangers?

Even though the internet is filled with great information that can help kids learn, there are also many dangerous threats. This is why it is essential for parents to protect their children's online data and safety.

Online Safety and the Law

Even though the United States government created the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) to require platforms to guard minors against inappropriate content, it can be difficult to understand how this law is designed to protect children. KOSA mandates transparent privacy policies that are audited to ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place.

Another federal law to be aware of is the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This law was passed to help protect kids 12 years old and younger in regard to online safety. In theory, COPPA places a barrier between websites and the data collected from the children who access them.

As a result of COPPA, the collected information from minors is limited, and websites are allowed to request only what is necessary to play a game or interact with a site. Age verification is also required in many instances.

To help you to understand how to protect your kids' privacy online, keep reading to find out more.

 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Online Safety

One of the best things you can do to protect your kids' online safety is to create the conditions for holding open conversations. Let them know that you are always available to talk with them about online behavior.

Tell your kids that you care about their online safety and you're ready to listen to any questions they have. By sharing these things, they begin to feel more comfortable sharing about how they're spending their screen time.

 

Keep it Age Appropriate

Before you have conversations with your children about their online safety, take into account how old they are. Use simple language when having these discussions with younger kids.

For example, it’s not a good idea to explain to young children why people might want to spy on themwith a webcam. This might make them feel overwhelmed, confused, or frightened. 

But it is a good idea to have detailed conversations about these issues with teens. Take the time to inform them about the most common cyber threats they need to protect themselves against.

And keep in mind that teaching internet safety can be fun. You can do this by creating games that are designed to teach your kids about the dangers of talking to strangers online.

Online Privacy for Kids: Setting Rules

If you're still wondering how to protect your kids' privacy, it's essential to understand the importance of setting internet rules for kids.

This involves creating guidelines for how kids use desktop computers, tablets, and cell phones. In fact, it’s possible for  hackers to attack cell phones when they are off.

Hackers can gain access to phones that your children use if your children inadvertently download compromised applications or email attachments.

These hackers know how to manipulate children who are online. You can prevent your kids from being taken advantage of by setting clear rules.

It’s also a good idea to make use of privacy settings on your browsers.

 

Understand the Risks that Children Face Online

Kids need to know why parents create rules for them. Help them understand what your intentions are. Here are some of the dangers that you and your children should know about.

 

Hackers, Spam, Phishing, and Malware

It is common for children to accidentally install malware on computers and digital devices. For example, a child might see an interesting cartoon or game and download it. They might not realize thatcontains malware.

There are many types of dangerous software attached to online services that are capable of stealing people's personal information.

Online Grooming and Predators

One of the most disturbing dangers that children face is online grooming and child predators. Predators often spend their time in digital spaces and social networks that are popular with children. This includes online gaming sites. 

A predator's goal is to build trust with unsuspecting children. They often try to convince children to meet up with them in real life. It goes without saying a situation like this could put your child's life in danger.

It is most common for online predators to prey on children who aren’t carefully watched by their parents. If a criminal knows they can get a child alone without anyone noticing, at least for a little while, then they’ve found the ideal victim.

Cyberbullying

There are various kinds of cyberbullying, such as harassment, online threats, and creating damaging rumors.

It is common for cyberbullies to harass their peers on social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat. Most cyberbullies are close to the age of the children they pick on, but some are adults.

Mental health can dramatically decline when cyberbullying is not recognized and stopped. Depression, falling grades, drug abuse, and eating disorders are just a few of the signs commonly linked to cyberbullying.

 

 

How to Protect Your Children from Online Predators

The best thing you can do to protect your kids from online predators is to tell them about what online predators are and what the risks are of interacting with them.

You can also teach your kids what types of online relationships are acceptable and how to identify relationships that are potentially dangerous.

Also, make sure to set up parental controls on all computers and digital devices.

 

Better Safe Than Sorry

While some parents feel too busy to engage in what their kids are doing online, or others want to avoid the backlash from their kids for putting limits on their online activity, it's better to be safe than sorry.

If you want to protect your children when they’re online, be watchful, maintain open dialogue with them, and watch out for the warning signs of cyberbullying and predatory behavior.

If you are interested in learning more about how to protect your kids' privacy online, we are here to help. Don't hesitateto contact us with any questions that you might have.



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