by Bash Sarmiento | Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management and traveling are translated in his works.
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As an adult you know how to protect yourself from the dangers on the internet. Children, most likely don’t. The internet is a double-edged sword that grows more lethal the more naive its users are. As a parent, you want to protect your children from the dangers they can’t defend themselves from. However, you are unsure if safeguarding your children from the internet’s worst is worth infringing on their privacy.
There are many arguments against cyber-snooping on your kids, but there are also plenty of reasons why you should.
#1 To protect them from cyberbullying
Bullying was already a problem even before the advent of social media. Today, it has evolved into a different, potentially more dangerous form. According to Ditch the Label’s Annual Bullying Survey 2017, 7 in 10 young people experience cyber bullying before the age of 18. Since most children are reluctant to speak up about being bullied, you won’t know what they’re going through unless you take a look.
Monitoring your children’s internet usage will allow you to spot instances of cyber bullying, whether it’s mean comments or straight-up harassment being thrown at your child. Whatever action you take is up to you, but you won’t be able to do anything if you remain unaware of what your child experiences online.
#2 To protect them against online predators
The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes around 500,000 online predators are active each day. Since they blend in with mainstream social media, they can be hard to detect, especially for children. The presence of online predators is the perfect reason to monitor your child’s internet usage.
If you keep an eye on your child’s internet activity, you’ll be able to immediately detect an online predator before they can cause any harm.
#3 To protect them from identity theft
Most children are too quick to trust and are prone to giving out too much information. Even if you give them constant reminders, you want to be able to step in when they’re about to make a blunder. You can only do so if you supervise your child’s online activity.
#4 To protect their device from viruses and malware
You’ve probably had your own brush with viruses and malware at one point. If adults can fall victim to malicious software circulating the internet, then just how susceptible are children to the same threats?
Having eyes on your kids’ internet activity, will help stop them from opening suspicious links or emails that could break their computer.
#5 To protect their reputation
Children are already prone to embarrassing themselves even without the internet’s help. Now that kids spend all their time on the internet, it’s more critical to prevent them from doing anything that would cause them shame. After all, the internet tends to document everything that happens in it.
Yes, everyone has their own embarrassing moments they’ll never forget. And while those moments did serve a lesson, isn’t it better if you can teach your children a lesson before they shame themselves online?
#6 To protect them against bad influences
Many parents already actively steer their children away from peers that encourage them to pick up bad habits. If you monitor your child’s internet usage, you can quickly identify bad influences and act upon them accordingly. Knowing that your child is being exposed to bad influences, allows you to discuss with them such important topics.
#7 To keep track of their social development
Online interactions are very different from face-to-face interactions. People tend to be more aggressive online than they are in person. The internet allows them to get away with many things. Supervising your child’s online interactions will help you understand how your child socializes on the internet. If your child is rude and disrespectful online, being aware of it allows you to intervene quickly before it becomes engraved in their behavior.
#8 To limit their internet usage
The internet has never been more accessibl, and it’s easy for children to spend too much time online. Access to the internet is important, both for leisure and learning, but you want to ensure they are not neglecting their responsibilities. Limiting your child’s screen time means they can dedicate more time to other meaningful activities. By monitoring your child’s internet usage, enforcing limits on screen time is easier.
#9 To provide fruitful internet usage
Aside from setting limitations, it’s also advisable to make their screen time as fruitful as possible. Doing so will reduce the risk of your child being exposed to threats and negative interactions. By signing up your child for STEM online learning classes, you can rest assured they are safe under the supervision of an instructor for the duration of their classes.
Deciding whether to monitor your child’s internet usage or not, boils down to which parenting style suits you. Regardless of which path you choose, keep in mind that the easiest way to fail at it is by going overboard. Too much is never good. Strive for a balance between monitoring your children to protect them and giving them privacy. It’s easier said than done and you’ll never balance it perfectly, but what’s important is to always keep trying.
Bash Sarmiento, Author