Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Key Goal of Keeping Children Safe Online is to protect them from Cyber Harm

All children are exposed to cyber risks when online. In all there are four major categories of such risks namely content, conduct, contact and cybercrime; with content being the largest of all. My earlier blog “Keep children safe by being aware of the 4C’s of risks children face online” provides a view of these risks.
A child suffers abuse when cyber risks translate into cyber harm. The Top 9 mild and severe cyber risks that kids face online” illustrates the key risks parents should be aware off. Most children adapt and shrug of exposure to mild cyber risks, but encounters with severe risk scar children for a long time. Mild risks are commonplace and usually dealt with by the child without parental involvement; as is to be expected in an emerging Gen Y society which is establishing the social rules for the use of cyberspace.

Instances of severe cyber risks are much fewer. Most go unreported and untracked by crime statistics which reduces their importance to society as against other forms of more violent and physical crime.  Cyber risk turns in to cyber harm when a vulnerable child is exposed to a severe form of cyber risks such as pedophiles or excessive content.  If a child is a victim the psychological damage can rob the child of his/her childhood..
Parents with intimate knowledge of their child’s psychology and behavior can easily identify if their children are susceptible to cyber harm. Typical evidence of vulnerability is excessive interests in adult or violent contents, fixations on adult issues such as to look slim due to peer pressure, or simply the need to confide in strangers because of problems at home.

Parental guidance and regular frank discussions on the use of the Internet is the best way to provide your child with the ability to steer past these risks and enjoy a safer online experience.

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