For parents, keeping kids safe sometimes feels like a full-time job. Thanks to the internet, these days, that job is more complicated than ever. It’s not always possible to control what your child can get exposed to, even with proper supervision. Here are 5 Ways to Protect Your Kids From Cyberstalking:
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Stalkers are crafty and have always found new ways to get at their prey. But even though stalkers have tools, information, and anonymity on their side, it doesn’t mean parents are totally helpless.
You can protect your kids from cyberstalkers and keep them from becoming a target in the first place. Here are some tips about cyberstalking and what to do.
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5 Ways To Protect Your Kids From Cyberstalking
The Dangers of Cyberstalking
Cyberstalkers and cyberbullies are even more dangerous than their real-life counterparts. After all, they can follow their victims home. Their attacks penetrate the places where kids usually feel the safest, leading to horrible consequences.
They can strike from anywhere — social media, chat forums, online games, and seemingly benign apps. Children are more trusting and willing to share personal information with strangers online. Cyberstalkers know it, and they exploit that vulnerability.
Often, the threat remains unseen until it’s too late. Parents always teach children from an early age that they shouldn’t talk to strangers and that they should tell their parents about bullies.
But things are a little more ambiguous when it comes to online threats. Children don’t always recognise the danger. Plus, parents don’t always have the time or tools to keep track of everything their kids do online.
Strategies and Tools to Protect Children from Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is not something that goes away on its own. In fact, statistics show that most of the time, it escalates and becomes even more devastating to the victim.
The best way to deal with cyberstalking is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are five ways parents can protect their children from cyberstalking:
#1. Have A Talk About Cyber Safety
Cyber safety is an important topic, and like physical safety, it’s something you should teach kids as soon as possible. Preferably, as soon as they start using the internet.
You have a lot to break down here and a lot of complicated concepts to get through, like password safety and account privacy. There are some helpful guides on this topic to help parents approach cyber safety in a structured way.
#2. Avoid Social Media or Make Their Accounts Private
First up, it’s important to state that children under the age of 13 aren’t allowed to have Twitter or Facebook or Instagram accounts.
But if your child does have social media accounts, then it’s essential to teach them about concepts like privacy and safety.
There are many forms of both overt and obscure dangers on social media that they need to be aware of.
Where possible, like on Facebook and Instagram, make their profiles private.
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#3. Turn GPS And Location Tagging Off
Many cyberstalkers aim to escalate their harassment to real life. They can be collecting information for doxing, kidnapping, or swatting attacks.
Turning the GPS off on devices that your kids use can’t solve all your problems. But it does make things harder for stalkers who use malware. Some malware uses the GPS function to track a person’s real-time physical location.
On the other side of the coin is location tagging. Most social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, use it. When your kids create a new post, they can tag their location. This can allow stalkers to track down their whereabouts without any malware in place.
#4. Install Security Tools
Where turning off the GPS doesn’t help, other security tools can help pick up the slack. For example, a virtual private network (VPN) protects a device from third-party snoopers by encrypting the internet connection.
Other helpful security tools include
- using password managers
- setting app locks, and
- using phone monitoring apps.
- making use of the parental controls that are already on the device. Some browsers, such as Chrome, have them too.
#5. Search For Their Names Online
A quick search should reveal any social media and other online accounts your kids have (if they are under their real name). It can also show whether any other people have shared photos or information about them, as these digital kidnappers do.
People, especially children, are much more likely to become victims of cyberstalking than being stalked in real life now. But that doesn’t mean parents should give up. There are many ways you can ensure your children stay safe online. Start with tools and tips like these and remain vigilant is the best advice.
Over to you now. This is obviously a scary topic but what are your thoughts on your child and cyberstalking? Share them with us in the comments below.