Published on January 9th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan0
Why Should Millennial Parents Pay More Attention To What Their Children Do On The Internet
The internet is a rather chaotic place, more so taking into account the recent development of toxic behavior among various communities and a rising tide of intolerance. It has reached such crisis levels that many online outlets are actually promoting it in a bid to get more visitors. Worse still, since the internet is a fee ground for all kinds of people to raise their voices, regardless of whether the claims hold any valuable meaning or are just meaningless rants in themselves. This type of regressive and toxic environment can be really difficult for new parents who are trying to raise their children as a better human being above all else.
One can only wish that the issues were limited to that but alas that’s not to be the case. You see this environment makes for a perfect place for 3rd parties to conveniently manipulate, stalk or steal data, if not supervised. So as children are more susceptible to deception, they are usually the prime targets.
Why internet monitoring should be a part of the routine for millennial parents?
Due to improvement in technologies, getting quick access to information no longer requires one to perform the arduous task of reading a book or flipping the newspaper. Rather one can simply open their smartphone and do a quick search on one of the many search engines that is available the fingertips with the smartphone.
Youngsters are especially susceptible to it because of their eagerness to know and learn things, however they still mostly lack the experience needed to differentiate between right and wrong, true or false, etc. and that makes for a worrying situation for them falling into the loops of – stalkers, data collection agencies, hackers, etc, as they dig deeper.
Honestly one can only wish that the issues were limited to that however, the internet is no stranger to sensitive things and mostly run by corporations and individuals seeking to turn a profit regardless of the consequences. Effectively, noting is free and if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.
Dangers that your child might get involved in while browsing the internet unmonitored
Ever since the rise of social media, there have been a shift in the general mindset of people that the first thing to do after having access to the internet is to on social media like Facebook or Instagram. However despite the online laws like COPA, all they need to do is click an agreement stating that they belong a certain age group. No verification documents are asked and that easily they are online. From they are exposed to the world, literally speaking. And here are some dangers immediate dangers that they might be exposed to once they get the dice rolling on an unrestricted/unmonitored internet.
- Misguided Online Fame: While its true that people like “PewDiePie” have become somewhat of an internet sensation, it is also true that their paths haven’t been easy and they have had to work really hard for it. While there’s nothing really wrong with it, it does give inspiration to youngsters to follow the same path. Unfortunately, due to the saturation of such online celebrities, building the way up is far more difficult than it seems as a concept. So most of the aspirants, often in desperation, could actually take some questionable shortcuts without worrying about the consequences. This can lead to far reaching consequences, including effecting mental and physical health.
- Cyber Stalkers: These are a real threat to the society and your children. They effectively prey on the innocence of individuals and then lead them to a scam or worse. There have been numerous reports over the years where children have been the prime target for internet paedophiles or scammers. Worse still, many reports also suggest that they have been extorted to get valuable information on their priors like private records or bank accounts.
- Internet Bullying: This is probably the most common practice that is seen on the internet. Cyberbullying is a very serious issue, which if not kept in check can lead to devastating consequences. This is especially common with high schoolers and teens who are fresh on the social network. Much like real life bullying, the person bullied can be harassed mentally or even threatened with physical violence if he/she fails to comply with the demands of the bullies.
- Potentially Unwanted Sites: The internet is no stranger to vulgar and unwanted material. Ranging from pornography to illegal gambling. Such sites not only contain unwanted material, but also sometimes can be used for spreading malware, trojans and are often presented as alluring clickbaits.
- Phishing: The number of phishing attacks has been rapidly increasing over the years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Of course, adults with even a modicum of awareness and experience will generally be safe from such attacks, however the same can’t be said for children, who just want to consume as much information as possible. These attacks are difficult to differentiate and are often well hidden.
- Unmonitored spending: There have been numerous reports of children going wild with the credit cards to get competitive in mobile gaming or even buying stuff off online portals. This can cause massive issues for parents as they have to bear the responsibility of undoing whatever damage the kid has done. Making matters worse, most companies actually design their games with microtransactions so they can capitalize on the platform.
How does unrestricted internet affect the parents?
Perhaps it’s the parents that have to bear the burden of responsibilities, if at all their child steps into the unknown. And it isn’t just limited to legal issues, there are a plethora of other woes that they have to go through, depending on the severity of the situation. Here are some of the common ones:
- Financial Issues: Sticking with the over spending on games point, I think that its fair to say that some parents can definitely have financial issues once their kid spends a fortune on online transactions without their knowledge. The worst part however is claiming back all of that money form the companies, which is often a long and arduous process and numerous times, they even outright deny paying off after making the parents go through process and jump legal hoops.
- Aftermath of a Scam: Similar to the last issue, scammers are often a lot more difficult to deal with than game companies. They can masquerade themselves as legitimate services and unless you are extremely cautious, they can get away 99% of the time with your money. Unlike unintended microtransactions, these can’t be tracked as scammers are often very careful to hide their tracks.
- Humongous internet bills: While data plans have been getting cheaper by the year, the same can’t be said for all regions or places. Children can consume massive amount of data due to the abundance of content on the web, especially videos and file downloads. This can often add up to a very big data bill if not supervised and it isn’t even possible to appeal for a relief or refund in almost all cases.
How can you mitigate this?
Well as a cautionary parent you have to take the baby steps to ensure that your child isn’t straying off the righteous path. This can be dome in a few ways, some of which I have mentioned below:
- Scheduling Internet time: This is often a very effective way of enforcing internet control. Instead of leaving the children to wander around with an open internet, all the time, it is much better to schedule fixed hours of internet time. It is a fairly common practice among many parents and one which new millennial parents should start following more often. But the downside of this is that certain children might start to protest or rebel as it is effectively jeopardising their free will.
- Deploy a spyware app: This is a clever and even more effective way to monitor the internet usage of your child using some of the best spying apps. This often can come in the form of an approved app that grants you a certain level of assurance of which sites your child is visiting. Most of these can often be used to other aspects as well like SMS, calls and data. Best of all, these can be installed silently and without revealing themselves. They can run as a service on the background and won’t hinder the usage of the device its installed.
- Opt for a hardware level firewall: This is probably the most direct way of making sure that your child isn’t visiting any shady sites. Installing a firewall with active parental control will mean that if the primary access for internet is often the home Wi-Fi, then you can blacklist suspicious sites from ever opening. Best of all even external hackers and scammers won’t necessarily be able to penetrate this layer of defence even with moderate effort.
- A progressive approach: Well all of the abovementioned mitigation strategies require some form of external tool. However if you tech your kids to be vigilant from a very young age, chances are that they will be a cut above the average individual when it comes to internet usage and caution. This is often the safest and least resistive way of controlling internet usage.
The internet is a moderately safe place provided that you know what you’re doing. So be vigilant and teach your kids to be vigilant. If you have to adopt a few external tools along the way, don’t hesitate as it can go a long way into ensuring your child’s and your family’s safety.