Authored by a Symantec employee
Today’s parents are raising a new breed of kids. Toddlers use tablets and teens text to communicate. Also, most schools have integrated computers and tablets into their curriculum. Parents allow their children and teens to have a mobile phone because it is a great way to stay in touch with them. It also gives parents a sense of where their children are and what they could be up to.
The challenge most parents face today is to weigh the pros and cons of giving their children digital freedom. Most parents understand that limiting children’s access to the Internet could impact their ability to learn and develop. However, this also means exposing children to threats and information that are far beyond their capacity to handle.
This is why having a robust parental controls system on all devices helps. It is the supplement all parents need in their digital lives. Just as you teach your child to lock all doors when they are alone at home, they have to be taught to use a security system on their devices.
Here are five top reasons why every home with children should have parental controls on all devices.
Reason 1: Cyber safety
Cybercrime is a multibillion-dollar industry. Organizations dedicated to cybercrime use despicable means to exploit people’s poor cyber habits. A recent Symantec survey reveals that since 2015, 689 million people were victims of cybercrime.
A child’s brain is constantly developing and learning new things. In their quest to know more they may engage in risky online behavior, like inadvertently disclosing too much information. This could mean compromising their own safety as well as the safety of others.
Reason 2: Time management
Screen time is addictive. It can mesmerize an adult into spending hours glued to a device while they are mentally detached from their physical surroundings. When compared to an adult, a child has far less chance to break free from this addiction.
According to recent research, besides the amount of time it wastes, excessive screen time can cause bad posture, poor eyesight, inadequate sleep and lack of physical activity in children.1 Parents might consider trying to enforce a healthy lifestyle by limiting screen time for their children and themselves. Parents can do so by setting boundaries and time limits on the types of media their children engage with. Designate media-free time and initiate activities like taking a walk, driving around, or playing a game.
Reason 3: Online reputation
Kids flood the Internet with social media posts and pictures from weekends and holidays. Many of these innocent posts go unnoticed. However, a Google search is all it takes to make a quick assessment of a person based on what is shared online. Many universities and companies perform searches on public social media pages to find information about potential candidates online. These organisations decide whether to accept or hire a person partially based on what is found there.2 Remember, no matter what your child deletes online it never really goes away. Yes, even on Snapchat.
Do monitor social media by checking the security and privacy settings on each of your child’s accounts. Most sites will allow you to control who sees your posts, and if not, they usually have the option for you to make an account private.
Reason 4: Data backup
With our children using the Internet to do their projects and homework, it is very important to back up all their data in a safe and reliable place. Teach children the importance of saving and storing data. Many free software programs are available online that offer storage services. However, these have the possibility of being riddled with malware and viruses. In addition to their important essays, assignments and projects, kids also have so many memories in the form of photos, texts, and emails that they want to save for the future. Backup is a very important part of your kid’s life. Phones fall in water, they break, they get lost or stolen, or they simply die a natural death. Make sure you protect their digital wealth with backup.
Reason 5: Cyber etiquette
Proper decision-making is a cognitive skill that develops well with positive parenting techniques. Help your child navigate the digital landscape with the same etiquette you would expect from them in the real world. Make them understand the value of good behaviour, both offline and online.
Explain to them the consequences of cyberbullying, owning and distributing pornographic material, and unethical hacking. Let them know that there are ironclad laws that protect victims of such crimes, and parents can’t bail the perpetrator out of such situations even if they tried.
Norton parental controls
Having parental control software installed on all your Internet connected devices is a great way to regulate your children’s online habits. Robust antivirus software like Norton Security Premium comes with range of features that make it easy for busy parents to keep tabs on their kids’ digital lives.
It lets your kids explore the Web freely, with tools that block unsuitable websites while keeping you in the know about which websites they are visiting. It also fosters healthier habits by scheduling specific times of the day or week a device can be used and for how many hours.
The new generation of kids are smart and intelligent. As parents it is our job to keep them safe and lead them to make better life choices independently. Invest in a good security suite and teach kids the importance of safety and common sense when exploring the online world.
Disclaimers and references:
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.
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