Digital technology surely provides a great platform for kids to experience other cultures and gain knowledge and wisdom, but it also makes them vulnerable to exploitation and harm. There is no such thing as safe internet or kid-friendly web. This is something parents must realize in order to protect their kids from the myriad threats present in cyber space. In case you are not yet aware of the dangers your young ones face online, here’s a short list to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation.
Kids start watching porn websites out of curiosity, but before they or even you know it, it develops into an addiction. Excessive exposure to pornography at a younger age affects the kid in the long run, affecting his perception of reality and expectations in relationships.
Cyberbullying is an endemic plaguing the lives of millions of kids around the globe on daily basis. Cyberbullies use different online platforms such as social media websites to abuse, harass, threaten, and insult their victims. Prolonged exposure to such treatment is known to have led kids to committing suicide.
There is a plenty of material available on suicide online. These websites provoke feelings of suicide among teens Depressed kids enter keywords like painless suicide methods, how to commit suicide, etc. to find easier ways of ending their lives for whatever reasons. Many teens have been reported to take their lives after visiting these websites. The sad thing is that these lives could have been saved. All it takes is the deployment of parental control apps to keep an eye on what kind of sites the kids are visiting so that the problem can be detected on time. An even more proactive approach is to block such websites from the start.
4. Online Predators
Kids are an easy target for online predators. They gather their victim’s personal information, including their contact details, personal photos, daily routine etc. and use it to exploit them as well as their parents.
5. Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Internet has made it easier for kids to get access to drugs and alcohol. Teens use fake ids to buy this stuff online. In fact, some teens even introduce their peers in school and college to drugs and eventually start selling it to them to earn extra money.
What kids see online has a direct impact on their behavior. Excessive exposure to websites containing content related to crimes may encourage kids to mimic this behavior. This is why, some kids end up becoming cyberbullies or stalkers. Sexual abuse is also common among kids. The websites containing content related to crimes also develop the fear for crime among youngsters who start feeling unsafe.
The best thing about online platforms is that you can easily hide your identity. Cyber-stalkers take benefit of this to exploit innocent kids using different online means. Some of them stalk kids’ social media accounts while other go after their social identity.
Most of today’s online games contain violence in them, which provoke violent behavior among kids. Prolonged exposure to such content can affect the behavior of the kid up to a great extent. If your kid gets angry very fast or is physically abusive, then you need to monitor his online activities.
9. Hate Speech
Hate speech is yet another common online threats faced by kids. Cyberbullies, stalkers and online predators leave mean comments, use harsh language and insult others on the basis of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. An excessive exposure to websites, movies, and games containing hate speech naturally starts developing negative thoughts against people belonging to other races, gender, religion, ethnicity etc.
There are a large number of gambling websites kids can get access to. Most of the teens start gambling just for fun, but this becomes their addiction before they know it.