The Internet is a game changer. As your child gets older, you'll appreciate that the World Wide Web has become the new playground for "cyber predators".
A 2010 Norton Online Family report found that 57 per cent of children aged between 8 and 17 have chanced on strangers who try to add them as a friend on social networks, while 26 per cent have come across online strangers who have asked to meet them in the real world.
So how do you protect your kids from cyber threats? Be vigilant and monitor their online activities. As soon as your young 'uns can understand, talk to them about how to stay safe.
The following tips will help you get started:
1. Warn them about social networking danger
Educate your child on the dangers of the Internet and the risks of sharing certain information on social networking sites. Set up child-appropriate rules so that your kiddie knows the boundaries of what he is allowed to do on the computer.
2. Have a discussion
Keeping the lines of communication with junior open is the key to keeping him safe. Ask about his opinions, feelings and tell him it’s important that he informs you if he’s a victim of online predators so that you can help him. Share anecdotes and offer non-threatening examples of cyber threats that are age-appropriate. Get books on the subject and read them with him so they can learn.
3. Stop others from photographing your kids
Never hesitate to stop people from taking too many photos of your children if you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it is, or how rude you'll seem. You never know when those pictures might end up on social media sites.