The increased interest in the Internet among the younger generation seeking personal and social fulfillment in the information age can undoubtedly be explained. However, it is critical to remain cautious since there are risks - many children and teenagers are unaware of the dangers of using the Internet being captivated by entertainment, particularly in chat rooms.
Everyday life, however, provides examples of many forms of cyberviolence. Unfortunately, criminal users obtain no less access to the network than others. They expertly exploit the Internet for criminal purposes such as sexual assault, fraud, and human trafficking against children and teenagers, relying on their juvenile naivety and lack of knowledge about potential threats.
Raising awareness of this alarming trend among both children and parents is one of the most important objectives of Zonta Bulgaria's project "NO to cyberviolence against women and children". This includes following the basic guidelines for accessing the Internet and discussing them with family members on a regular basis.
Experts provide some recommendations to parents on how to protect their children and themselves from cyberviolence.
Introduce the Internet's dangers to your children
Remind them that you should never trust someone you meet online, whether in a chat room or elsewhere. Demonstrate to them how some people tend to impersonate others (adults with bad intentions pretend to be children).
Dating sites are particularly hazardous! They're one of the most popular tools for pedophiles on the hunt for youngsters. Limit your kids' access to them and make sure they're aware of the dangers.
Teach your children to be cautious!
Use the internet as a family
Always be interested in what your children are doing online and who they are interacting with. Discuss the websites they visit with them; the people they communicate with via email, chat rooms, games, or social media (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, and so on); and be engaged in the games they play.
Limit the access
Limit the amount of time your children will be allowed to access the Internet and arrange it to align with when you will be at home.
Make it clear that meetings with strangers are prohibited, and explain why
Allowing your children to attend gatherings/meetings organized by someone they met on the internet is never a good idea. If the presence at such a meeting is required, make sure you accompany them.
Keep a close eye on things
If you come across content or messages on the internet that offends, shocks, or upsets you or anybody else - leave the page/conversation and report it to the authorities. They will be able to take the required actions to stop all criminal conduct in this manner.
Protect your data and information
Make your password as tough to guess as possible when creating it. Never use personal information such as names, phone numbers, nicknames, dates of birth, PIN codes, social security numbers and etc. Use various usernames and passwords for different programs and sites to protect your other accounts if a password gets compromised. If the system you're entering into allows it it's always a good idea to mix uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as add numbers and characters when generating a password (e.g., /?! # @ $ percentage & * - +; "; etc.). Always use a password that is distinct from your username.
Installing software that filters information so that it is appropriate for children and teenagers is a good idea. These are available in both Google Play for Android devices and the App Store for iOS devices. Google Family Link, ESET Parental Control, Parental Control Kroha, Parental Control App Kidslox and etc. are examples of such tools.