6 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe From Cybercrime 

As time has progressed, so has the internet and the devices that allow people to use it. Now millions of people can access information in ways that would have been unimaginable just 50 years ago. However, cybercrime has developed alongside this progression. Children are especially susceptible to malicious actions online, as they can lack the tools necessary to defend themselves. So here are six ways to keep your kids safe from cybercrime.


  1. Have a Conversation


When it comes to protecting your kids from cybercrime, it may be tempting to make changes right away. However, it can be confusing to establish sudden and seemingly arbitrary protections. For the long-term health of your kids, it can be helpful to initiate a conversation with them.


From this conversation, you will be able to learn their point of view and share yours. A dialogue will open up between you, which will allow you to express your concern and your plans moving forward. It will also demonstrate your respect for them by having such a conversation in the first place. This can serve to deepen your relationship with your kids, rather than push them away. And it will lay the groundwork for your kids to have a healthy, more intentional relationship with the internet.


  1. Get a Kids Phone


These days, many kids have access to the internet sooner than ever before. The very devices themselves can expose your kids to things they may not be entirely prepared to see. But as dangerous as tech can be, it also provides some safety nets. It’s near impossible to cut your child off from the internet, and it isn’t healthy in the long term. 


What you can do is choose what device they will use. Instead of your traditional smartphone, why not get a cell phone for kids instead? Like a typical smartphone, they allow calling and texting, but they limit access to social media, games, and internet browsing.

Just over half of kids in America have a smartphone in their hands as early as age 11. Your child will want one sooner or later. A safer device will allow your child to participate in the online world while limiting their exposure to it.


  1. Use a VPN


If your child is already using a computer, whether their own or the family’s, consider using a virtual private network. A VPN is downloadable software that essentially keeps your internet traffic and online identity private. When you access a website normally, it’s done through your internet service provider, or ISP. You’re assigned an IP address that identifies you as a unique user on that website.


When using a VPN, however, the software connects you with a VPN server. Your data is encrypted, so that it can’t be sold or shared with any malefactors. Children are some of the internet users most vulnerable to personalized advertising and identity theft. VPNs add an extra layer of security that helps preserve their anonymity.


  1. Set Up Parental Controls


In a similar vein, you can set up parental controls on your child’s device. These controls will essentially put parameters in place that will limit your child’s ability to access the internet. You can cut off access to certain sites entirely or even just blacklist specific pages on websites.


Besides cutting off access to certain sites you can also limit time use. Again, removing internet access entirely isn’t necessarily feasible or even healthy. In tandem with the intentional conversation you had with your kids earlier, this limitation creates structure.


Games and sites online these days are often designed to reward potentially addictive behavior. Without any sort of guidance, kids can easily get stuck in these sites’ webs. Seek to instill a sense of limitation and structure to their online usage. By doing so, you’ll help prepare your kids for continued success in the future.


  1. Reflect on Your Habits


“Do what I say, not what I do.” How often did you hear your own parents say this? And how often did you just do what they did regardless? The reality is, kids are like sponges — they soak up everything they experience, and repeat most everything they see. This also applies to how they see you use your own devices.


Pay special attention to your cell phone use. How many hours a day do you use it? Does using it connect you with your family or drive you further apart? You are a role model for your child in every area of life, and device use is no exception. By modeling healthy and positive device use in everyday situations, you’ll set your kids up for success in their future.


  1. Invest in Education


So far, you’ve been able to explore options for addressing device use and safety in the relative short-term. But device use is not limited to a single user experience. Our devices often increase connectivity, and so they also provide multiple avenues for social experiences. As children continue to age, they’ll be subject to increasing peer pressure both off and online.


Explore device and internet literacy with your kids’ school system. Do they have computer classes that help kids learn how to be safe online? If they don’t, is there someone who can lead such a class? What would it take to get such a class added to the curriculum?


Remember, you’re not alone. Millions of other parents are struggling with similar issues and want to do everything they can to protect their kids. You may be surprised how much support you find if you choose to spearhead a movement.


Preparing Your Kids for Their Future


This is one of the most interesting times in the history of human civilization. The invention of the internet has fundamentally changed the way people interface with the world. And things will only continue to change from here on out. And while it’s not possible to protect your child from unforeseen dangers entirely, it’s possible to enable their future.


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