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TechKeep your children safe online

Keep your children safe online

Published: 14th Oct 2020 12:44 am

It is almost eight months since India went into lockdown, and we are now beginning to adapt to the new normal where we find ourselves mostly confined to our homes and depending more on technologies to connect with the outside world. Like everything else, children have been forced to take classes online and use online platforms to entertain themselves.

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With children spending more time on gadgets, parents are now facing challenges to deal with the fatigue and increasing anxiety among their children. Data reveals that post the lockdown, kids are engaging with digital media more than ever. This has also increased their risk of exposure to inappropriate content and falling prey to cybercriminals as they get easily lured by online games and interactive media.

Threats children face online:

• Sexual predators targeting children on social media, gaming and messaging platforms

• Harmful content, violence, misogyny, xenophobia etc. leading to misinformation and suicide and self-harm tendencies

• Sharing personal information, photos and videos and landing in trouble

• Being subjected to cyberbullying by friends and strangers

How to protect children:

• Set up parental controls

• Strict privacy settings on online applications and games

• Turn on SafeSearch on browsers

• Cover webcams when not in use

Constantly evaluating how safe your children are in this digital world is paramount. A few steps will prove to be of significant impact

Screen time: Ensuring a healthy balance between online activities and real life is important

Parental control: Enable Parental controls (software tools) that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online

Online pornography: There are increased chances that your child being exposed to online pornography or searching for porn sites out of curiosity

Online gaming: Games can improve coordination, problem-solving and multi-tasking skills and also help children build social skills. But online gaming can land your ward in trouble, especially multiplayer games

Tips for parents:

• Don’t block all access to technology; help your child use it safely and effectively

• Be aware of your children’s favourite games and applications

• Monitor your child’s online activities and set boundaries

• Create smartphone and internet usage agreements and create tech-free zones like bedrooms

• Teach your child about personal safety (YAPPY- Your Address, Your Phone Number, Your Password and Your Plans)

• Help children filter information and understand difference between popularity and truth

• Avoid using devices as rewards or punishments

• Balance screen time and green time

• Don’t allow your child to sign up to applications and games with age restrictions

• Explore internet and reliable sources to know more on digital parenting

Our findings/recommendation:-

Our internal research to provide all of the above to the common Indian internet user led us to build Justifi, a cloud-based solution that works on a wide range of home routers and provides 360ˇ management of your home internet. As a user you can see who is connected, select and limit users and usage and protect your home network from cyber attacks. With one click, it gives protection from over five million inappropriate sites that include porn, dating and games of violence. You can also set a screen time or bedtime off routine with simple clicks where you control specific access rules on specific devices. Besides it also gives you full control on your home WiFi. More details can be found on www.justificloud.com

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column for more on “Internet Ethics and Digital Wellness” brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org


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