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Lessons I've Learnt From The E-Safety Conference For Kids

There are many online dangers parents need to know about. Here are the most common ones.

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Last month I was travelling across the United Kingdom with my husband and daughter. We've seen many great places and stayed in London for the whole week. That very week, there was a very cool conference dedicated to online security and child protection. It lasted five hours and I was astonished by the amount of new information I've heard there. All the speakers were the real professionals and offered lots of useful tips and suggestions. I've decided to share some of this information with those parents and teachers who know little about online dangers and how to protect kids from them.

First off, I'd like to start with the common dangers that wait for your kids online. Some of them were familiar to me, but a couple of them were quite unexpected. Here are the most common dangers on the Internet:

Cyberbullying

When I was at school, there was just bullying. I was bullied myself , so it is quite a painful yet important topic for me. For those who don't know it, cyberbullying is when a person is harassed or harmed online or via text messages. Cyberbullying comes in many different forms. It may be rude comments to photos on social networks, offensive text messages, excluding a person from some online groups or chats, cybestalking, etc.

Explicit content

Teenagers are naturally curious and there is no surprise they often Google erotic things. However, it is one thing when a teenager is willingly searches for naked celebrities, for example, and when a kid involuntary sees porn or violent scenes (well, voluntary, too). There is so much inappropriate content for kids online, you cannot even imagine. I definitely wouldn't want my daughter to see that.

Scams and fraud

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

If your kids own some money or happen to know the number of your credit card (they are very clever these days), there is a chance they can be tricked into sending that money to some frauds. There are different types of scams, you've probably heard about some of them.

Sexting

Yes, we all think that our kids wouldn't do that. Let's not believe that our children are angels and are very different from other teenagers. No, they're not! Sexting is something that many of them do and find quite innocent. However, the law doesn't see it in the same way. If your child either sends, resends or receives and keeps pictures with a nude or half-naked underage person, they may be charged with possession or distribution of child pornography. It is not a very pleasant process to go through.

Online predators

It is potentially the most dangerous thing on the list. Your kids probably talk to a certain group of people on the Internet and have many friends on Facebook. However, you never know whom they actually speaking to. Under a profile of a cute teenage boy can actually hide an online predator who wants to seduce your daughter.

What to do?

Apart from telling the audience about all those dangers in details, the speakers also mentioned how you can protect your kids from them. There are several ways that seem to work. The following are just some of them that I can clearly remember.

Talk

Talking is the key here. Talk to your child on a regular basis and make sure you trust each other. You need to tell your kids about all the online dangers and their consequences. They need to know that the Internet is not a toy and they should use it only for good purposes.

Monitor

Of course, you may be in a good relationships with your kids and trust their words and decisions. Nevertheless, the speakers advised us monitoring their online life anyways. You should check their browser history, Facebook friends and even messages. There are many inappropriate apps to block on your kids' iPhones. The specialists at the conference suggested several different apps and software for that.

Discipline

Of course, you want to be your child's friend. However, you cannot stop being their parent and telling them what to do. If kids, especially teenagers, feel too much freedom, they may start experimenting with forbidden things. You have to set a strict discipline and make sure they know what is allowed and what is strictly forbidden.

I was pleasantly surprised to see such a cool conference that educates parents to protect their kids. I was very inspired to pay more attention to my child's online life and to spread this knowledge among all the parents I know. Hopefully, I could help someone here, too.

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