The world has witness the most technological advancement in the 21st century than it has ever recorded; One major breakthrough on this path is the introduction of the internet. The internet/world wide web [WWW] was created by researchers who began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
The internet being a typical virtual world were lots of people are engage and meet, can sometimes be very dangerous for both the young and older. As a place of convergence, where lots of people from different places, race and culture meet, there is bound to be chaos. In this Article we would be highlighting some of the challenges and threats Children meet on the internet.
- Explicit contents of violence or sexuality
With little or no boundaries, children can now access clips and pictures of sexuality, whether of facebook, instagram, snapchat or twitter. People go ahead to show contents with display of violence and death. Such posts are not appropriate for children as it could paint a negative image in their minds. Without and Supervision, Children can access Porn Hubs. Which is where the major reason, Parents should monitor their child’s online activities.
- Cyber bullying
About 90% of teenagers agree that cyber bullying is a problem, and 63% believe this is a serious problem. Furthermore, a research conducted in 2018 on the behavior of children online, showed that about 60% of Children on social media networks have experienced some sort of cyber bullying. And according to enough.org, as of February 2018, nearly half (47%) of all young people have being bullied on the internet.
Social media Platforms and Games are now used as tools by those who feel superior to humiliate others who they tag “prey”. In online games where children are connected globally, the massive use of abusive words exists. Some players may gang up to intimidate others even in the virtual world.
On Social media some people go to the extent of posting inappropriate Content [photographs/videos] of children, they may try to ridicule others by circulating fake rumors about them, just like a recent case on Facebook where any anonymous individual posted the pictures of different girls tagging them “Prostitutes”.
A major foundation for protection against cyber bullying is for parents to be comfortable talking to your children about what is going on in their lives online and in real life and how to stand up for themselves against bullies.
Cyber security software and specialized apps for monitoring your child’s online and mobile activity should be introduced, this software should be able to filter some abusive and sensitive words and have a strict policy of “No abusive words”. Even though we know Cyber bullying is not just with words this can go a long way.
- Cyber Predators
These days’ sexual and other predators often stalk children on the internet, taking advantage of their innocence, lack of adult supervision and abusing their trust. This can culminate in children being lured into dangerous personal encounters in real life.
These predators also lurk on social media and gaming platforms that appeal to children, it is the anonymity in such platforms that facilitates cyber bullying. There, they can exploit not only children’s innocence, but also their gift of imagination. “Let’s play pretend” is a common and healthy part of online gaming and interaction, but predators can use it as a hook to pull children in.
The certain authorities offer guidance in safeguarding against predators and other online risks to child safety. This is one of the major reasons why some sites and gaming software are restricted for some certain age, but this doesn’t add up, because these rules can be violated without any problem.
- Posting Private Information
Children do not yet understand social boundaries. They may post personally identifiable information online, for example in their social media profiles that should not be out in public. This might be anything from images of awkward personal moments which can be used against them to their home addresses or family vacation plans, ID numbers or Credit card details. As Children they might share sensitive information which can be a threat to their life.
Phishing is what cyber security professionals call the use of emails that try to trick people into clicking on malicious links or attachments. These can be especially difficult for kids to detect because often times, these emails would appear to be from a friend or family member, simply saying, “Hey—thought you might like this!” This can also be done with using messaging apps or text messages then it’s called “smishing”.
Phishing emails and smishing texts can pop up at any time, but the cyber criminals who devise them keep watch on sites that are popular with children, and gather information such as email addresses and friends’ names and other information to tailor their attacks, just as they do when spear phishing adults to access corporate networks.
Children should be advised to avoid clicking on emails or texts from strangers and to be wary of messages that appear to be from their friends but seem “off” or have no genuine personal message attached.
- Falling for Scams
Children are easy targets for Scammers of all kind; they may lure children to malicious websites/apps or try to develop a personal relationship with them in other to gain their trusts. Scammers may promise children offers, such as free access to online games or special features. As with phishing, cyber criminals can use sites popular with children to identify potential victims, and then promise prizes in return for what they want, like parents’ credit card information.
Young or old, the best protection against scams is knowing that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
- Accidentally Downloading Malware
Malware is computer software that is installed without the knowledge or permission of the victim, which performs harmful actions on the computer. This includes stealing personal information from your computer or hijacking it for use in a “botnet,” which causes sluggish performance.
Cyber criminals often trick people into downloading malware. Phishing is one such trick, but there are others—such as convincing victims to download malware masquerading as games—can be especially beguiling to children.
As with scams, educating your children is the best protection, but comprehensive, cross-device cyber security software and related security protections can help safeguard your child’s computer against any malware that sneaks into it. In addition, many internet security products also include specific parental controls and applications that can help you build a secure framework for your children’s online activities.
- Posts that Come Back to Haunt a Child Later in Life
The internet does not have a “Delete” key. It is the opposite of Las Vegas. Things that happen online stay online. Forever. Anything your child puts online is nearly impossible to remove later. The dangers of social media are especially daunting. It is hard for teenagers in particular to consider how a party picture or Snapchat message could cause problems ten years down the road when they interview for a new job, or how a prospective mate might respond to personal content that they post to their social media profiles or other websites.
Children should be well aware that their style and opinions are guaranteed to change as they grow older. With no “Take-Back” or “Delete” buttons, their 15-year-old self can dramatically alter their adult life in a single click. How they wish to present themselves online and in real life will likely change as they age—but internet posts are forever.
Every little child now owns a Smartphone which has access to the internet and the internet can pose serious dangers to children. It can also open doors of wonder for them that previous generations could only have dreamed of.
Parents should ensure of their children’s online safety so they experience the joys and opportunities of the online world, and avoid its hazards.
More online platforms should create age limits systems as well or where children’s accounts on any platform can be monitored by parents just like on Youtube, were we have Parental Control. You can browse through your Childs browsing history and also restrict certain types of content for him.