How to protect a child from online traps?

 How to protect a child from online traps?


Today's children are becoming Internet users at a young age. According to the United Nations, every half second a child is online in the world. Experts have expressed concern that the increasing access of children to the online world is causing danger.



In this context, the Young and Resilient Center of Western Sydney University has recently conducted a study. Not only is access to children increasing, studies have shown that they are at risk due to not being able to use them safely.


According to the study, children do not know that they should block inappropriate friend proposals from strangers on social media. This study shows that by not reporting or blocking such people, children put themselves at greater risk of unwanted contact in the future.


In Britain, under the new law 'Online Safety Act', it is said, "It is not only the responsibility of parents to ensure greater safety of children on the Internet, but also of technology companies."


But the new rules related to this law will not come into effect until 2025. Because this rule is currently a subject of debate.


Critics say, "Even if this rule is made, it is not very effective."


After Britain, many countries around the world have made and implemented similar rules. Statistics show that young children and teenagers contribute the most to connecting with strangers and apps on social media.


In 2023, 79 percent of online platform users worldwide are between the ages of 15 and 24. Amanda Third, co-director of the Young and Resilient Center, says, "Children growing up in the online world need help keeping them safe on the Internet."


According to a study by UNICEF, the United Nations organization for children, more than a third of children in 30 countries face threats in the cyber world. As a result, about 20 percent of children have stopped going to school.


Not only that, it is also a matter of concern that some children engage in hate speech, violent content and extremist social media groups on social media.


Along with this, misinformation or fabricated stories of conspiracies are also widely spread on digital platforms.


Risk of sexual exploitation and abuse


UNICEF says, "Children are at the highest risk of sexual exploitation and abuse in the online world."


According to the association, today it has become easier for sexual abusers to find victims through Jalo Hali online. They can easily share such pictures. Those who can incite others to commit such crimes. About 80 percent of children in 25 countries have reported being threatened with sexual exploitation and abuse online.




Are there online monitoring options available for parents?


There are many ways to monitor children, which prevent inappropriate content that may cause stress or risk to children. But what the studies show is that parents are not so interested and used in such options.


According to the 2019 Global Kids Online survey, most parents of children between the ages of nine and 17 prefer to use methods such as prevention and rule-based restrictions to monitor their children rather than using technological devices.


According to the study, there are some cultural differences between parents. In developed countries in Europe and South America, parents prefer mediation. Whereas in Ghana, the Philippines and South Africa, parents adopt a policy of limited intervention in this matter.


However, parental control over children's phones or other devices remains limited. In the countries included in the survey, less than three percent of parents were using technology to protect their children's online use.


Some of the biggest internet companies in the UK have joined forces to create a security organization called 'Internet Matser'. Internet Matser has compiled a list of safe and available technical tools. Along with this, guidelines have also been made for the use of these technical tools.


For example, parents who want to prevent their children from viewing inappropriate content on YouTube and TikTok, two of the most popular platforms, can set up a 'kids version' designed specifically for children, which filters out adult content.


Teens who use the main sites YouTube and TikTok can create parental monitoring accounts. These accounts allow you to know what your child is viewing on these apps.


Facebook Messenger can also be monitored through Family Center.


According to TikTok, this means of connecting family members gives parents the power to make their children's accounts private.


Instagram also has many tools available for parents, through which they can set a daily time limit for viewing. They can also schedule breaks. And, they can also create a list of accounts that their children have complained about.



- Android, Apple phones and tablets have apps and systems that parents can use for monitoring.


- Unfair apps can be blocked through these tools. Or, such access can be limited.


- Adult content that uses inappropriate language may be banned. Procuring children can be banned. And, they Browsing can be monitored.


- Apple has provided Screen Time tool.


- Streaming platforms like Netflix provide parental controls to filter content.


At the same time, through the settings of the gaming console, parents can set limits for the child to play games according to their age. And, they can ban purchases while playing games.


Broadband and TV service providers are also offering these parental control options in many countries.




How should you talk to children about online safety?


According to the UK's Child Welfare Organization, it is important to talk to children about online safety and take an interest in their online activities.


The organization recommends that parents make these topics part of their daily routine discussions with their children. As they talk about their time at school with the child. This will make it easier for the child to express his problems to his parents.


Professor Alan Woodward, an expert in computer security at the University of Surrey, says that telling a child 'you can't see content' is the wrong lesson. It can increase the child's interest in watching. And they start looking for a way. Why shouldn't they use a virtual private network (VPN)?'


What are governments doing about it?


Regulatory agencies are trying to enforce privacy laws that protect children. Lawmakers have also been very active in this matter.


However, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) agrees that more laws are needed to maintain privacy and security in the online world. But jurisdictions are taking different initiatives towards this common goal.



Also read this

What is the effect of feeding food by showing a mobile phone to children?

How are tech companies solving it?


Privacy concerns aren't the only thing against tech companies these days. Protests are also increasing regarding the online security of users.


Parents are also pushing tech companies to take this responsibility, to create platforms that are 'safe' for children and minor users.


At the end of January this year, during a hearing in the US Parliament, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the parents of children who were victims of online exploitation.


The Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis hearing was held to investigate the growing number of sexual exploitation cases in the online world.


In the hearing, the officials of all the companies like Meta, Snap Discord and Tiktok were called to answer. Mark Zuckerberg and Tiktok chief executive Shou Chew were the most talked about.


A Snapchat official noted that as a popular platform among the younger generation, it has increased responsibility to provide a safe and positive experience.


In this regard, a representative of Meta said, 'Contents promoting violence or suicide, self-harm are against our rules. And we remove such content when we find it on the platform.


Despite their statements, these companies do not immediately remove inappropriate or offensive content. Even after frequent contact, such content is not removed quickly.


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