A majority of UAE parents (96 percent) worry about their children’s online safety, but many may not know how to protect them, according to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report.
The study, which highlighted risks from cyberbullying to stranger danger and malicious threats, the findings reveal 87 percent of parents believe it’s risky to allow their children to use computers and mobile devices without any supervision, and three out of five parents worry about how much information their child shares online.
Yet whilst most parents understand the risks their children face online, these concerns don’t always translate into concrete action.
“Technology has reshaped how our children grow up and has rewritten the rules of parenthood,” said Tamim Taufiq, Head of Norton Middle East. “Families are navigating a world where debates about screen time are as important as bedtime, where some parents ban social media or gaming, whilst others watch their children form fast friendships across borders and time zones. In today’s digital world, parents are grappling with how they prepare, protect and empower their children to use technology safely.”
“We should encourage parents to have frank and regular conversations with their children about their online experiences, and reassure them that they are not alone. At the end of the day, all parents are ‘learning on the job.’”
Norton shares eight easy steps parents can consider to protect their children and find the right approach for their family:
- Establish house rules and guidelines: these can include setting limits to screen time, the type of content a child accesses online or the appropriate tone of language to use online. These rules should vary depending on your children’s age, maturity and understanding of the risks they could face online.
- Encourage your children to go online in communal spaces: it’s about striking a balance where they don’t feel that you are constantly looking over their shoulder and don’t feel like they need to hide to go online. It will help put your mind at ease about what they are doing, and they’ll know they can come to you if they are confused, frightened or concerned.
- Encourage and maintain an open and ongoing dialogue with your children on Internet use and experiences, including cyberbullying: You can also check Norton’s top tips to start and maintain an open conversation with your children.
- Encourage kids to think before they click: whether they’re looking at online video sites, receiving an unknown link in an email or even browsing the web, remind your child not to click on links which may take them to dangerous or inappropriate sites. Clicking unknown links is a common way people get viruses or reveal private and valuable information about themselves.
- Look out for harmful content: from websites to apps, games and online communities, your kids have access to a lot of content that can affect them both positively and negatively. Using smart family security and parental web safety tools, as well as the built-in security settings in your browsers, can help the whole family stay safe.
- Discuss the risks of posting and sharing private information, videos, and photographs, especially on social media.
- Be a good role model. Children are likely to imitate their parents’ and adult’s behaviour, so lead by example.
- Use a robust and trusted security software solution, such as Norton Security, to help keep your children and devices protected against malicious websites, viruses, phishing attempts and other online threats designed to steal personal and financial information.
To find out more about cybercrime and how people can protect themselves and their families, download the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report.