Since the dawn of the Internet, the digital world has continued to evolve, offering users unlimited access to information, entertainment and ways of connecting with people around the globe. Despite these benefits, going online can expose users to multiple risks to their safety and privacy.
“Together for a better internet” is the motto of Safer Internet Day (SID), celebrated on February 9, to remind us of the importance of responsible use of internet-enabled devices.
A major event in the online safety calendar, SID focuses on promoting safe and easy ways for children and young people to learn, work, play and socialize online.
The pandemic-fueled digitalization introduced children to new ways of socializing and attending school. Thousands of online classes were disrupted through Zoom bombing, exposing children to hateful speech and distressing imagery.
Online gaming also soared during the pandemic. While it may be a normal response to isolation, excessive screen time and unsupervised gaming platforms have brought their share of concerns through cyberstalking, cyberbullying or exploitation. Cyberstalking and cyberbullying through social media, messaging, and gaming platforms cannot be ruled out from the risks associated with increasing internet use among kids and teenagers. These attempts to harm users via digital technologies can have long-lasting psychological effects and expose victims’ personal information, compromising their privacy and well-being.
How to ensure safe digital encounters
You can help create a safer and better internet by sticking to good security practices and sharing your meaningful insights with your community:
- Educate children about the importance of choosing unique and hard-to-guess passwords to protect online accounts from compromise
- Take action against cyberbullying by reporting rude, discriminatory and disrespectful comments to service providers
- Research mobile apps before your child downloads them onto his or her device
- Teach kids and teens about the risks they face online when using internet-enabled devices, and the importance of limiting the amount of personal information they share on social media platforms
- Make sure they don’t click on malicious links and ads
- Monitor online activity using a dedicated parental control software
Last but not least, choose a security solution that can protect all connected devices from cyber threats that try to bypass security and compromise sensitive data.