Modern-day parents are pioneers in raising children in a connected and digital age, so it is crucial that you are suitably equipped for the sake of your children’s safety and wellbeing.
Children living during this digital age are more exposed and dependent on the internet than ever before, which opens new areas of vulnerability.
As adults and parents, we need to embrace the cyberworld armed with well-informed data that empowers parents with the necessary support and knowledge to navigate through this vast online space.
She has provided valuable advice regarding how you can protect your children online, which is detailed below.
Estee explained that there are three main areas of concern that parents should be aware of:
- Harmful content – Many platforms’ content is user-generated and unregulated. Children can easily stumble upon harmful content which can have a severe impact on mental health.
- Online predators – Children are vulnerable and can easily build trust relationships with strangers online. Grooming – both sexual and otherwise – is common.
- The child’s digital footprint – A child is often their own worst enemy in online spaces. Once they are given access, they can create and publish content that can ruin their reputation and have long term repercussions.
A child who wants to build an online following cannot have the privacy settings and safeguards in place that we would usually recommend.
Their following will be made up of strangers who can strike up a conversation with them in private, groom them or move their conversation to a self-deleting platform.
This child is also highly vulnerable to cyberbullying and cruelty.
It is recommended that a ‘kidfluencer’s’ parents are actively involved in monitoring their online behaviour at all times and that they spend time using the media and understanding the pitfalls alongside their child.
Unfortunately most parents do not have the time to make their children’s budding social career their full-time job.
Overuse and it’s impact on children
There are also many emotional and health-related issues that can be caused by excessive screen time A child should have a healthy media balance.
Screen time should be monitored from an early age and moderation is key. Screens are not bad but overuse is and can lead to:
- Social Media depression
- Gaming disorder
- Lack of self-worth
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal ideation
- Disintegration of the parent-child relationship
Excessive time spent using screens and the Internet can also take children away from the things they should be doing for healthy development.
A child spending 5 hours playing Fortnite is not learning to play a musical instrument, climbing trees, riding a bike, or engaging in meaningful conversations with adults. This leads to developmental delays.
Controlled access is key
However, there is no denying that today’s generation are digital natives.
Online technologies have been around from the moment they were born, and apps are therefore a major influence on their lives – much like how television was ubiquitous in previous generations.
It is therefore valuable for parents not to ban their children from the Internet, but rather to implement software and tools to give their children online access in a controlled manner.
This includes filtering software, time-restriction tools, and even cybersafe and digital life skills programs – like the workshops offered by Sassy Llama.
Parents also need to be educated on how best to manage their children’s use of technology.
A good place to start is Sassy Llama’s Llama Mama (https://www.sassyllama.co.za/workshop/llama-mama/) course which will equip you with everything you need to know from screen time to safe gaming and everything in between.
Despite the risks the Internet provides to our children, the possibilities of what these tech-savvy youths can and will achieve with the correct empowered knowledge are truly endless.
This is why you should connect your home and business now with Amobia, while simultaneously educating yourself and your children with Sassy Llama, as well as implementing an award winning-dashboard monitoring app such as Bark, which makes use of advanced artificial intelligence to help families manage and protect their children’s online lives.
Bark’s comprehensive online safety services are already protecting 5.9million children, has detected 354+ thousand severe suicide and self-harm situations, has escalated 1000 predators to law enforcement and detected 16 potential American school shootings.
Amobia, in partnership with Bark is excited to offer you the Bark Jr product at no cost, to give you peace of mind over your child’s safety and exposure as your role as a digital parent continues to evolve.