Online Safety

Our children have never seen a world split between the online and the offline. They are using the online space for learning, exploration, experimentation, play and pleasure. From entrepreneurship to making social change – the internet has given them an early window to make their mark on the world.

The Internet is neither just “an innovation for good” nor “an instrument of evil” or even “just a tool”. It seems easy and getting easier all the time but it is in fact a complex entity. Learning about using it safely and securely yourself and teaching your children about it is the first step towards enabling them to avoid the risks.

Prepare Yourself

A few fundamental facts that you need to know about the online space as you prepare to talk to your child about Internet Safety & Child Protection:

What is the Internet?
The internet is an informal term for the world-wide communication network of computers. It sends information quickly between computers around the world. It has millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry many different kinds of information. The Internet is a global system of computer networks – a network of networks in which users at any one computer can, if they have permission, get information from any other computer.
(source:- Simple Wikipedia)
What is the difference between Internet & the World Wide Web?
The internet is the machines but the web is the information. It is the visible portion of the Internet. It contains websites and webpages linked to each other.
(source:- Simple Wikipedia)
What is Social Media?
Social media is a website or a service where people talk to other people/friends or network with them by sharing pictures, videos, news, ideas and interests. Most social media networks work by creating a profile page with your general information, pictures and interests. The popular social media networks include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
What are Apps?
A mobile application, most commonly referred to as an app, is a computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Some apps can be downloaded for free from the app store whereas others may be purchased. From breaking news to chatting with friends, booking tickets to social media, there is an app for everything. A mobile application is also called web app, online app, iPhone app, Android app or smartphone app.
What is the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things or IoT refers to the connection of everyday objects to the internet and to one another, letting them talk to us and each other. Consider this: You have a smart fridge. Every time you run out of milk, it tells you about it and even order some on its own. It can even tell you whether some item is past its expiry date and that you should discard it.
Is the Internet a public space?
As a general rule the internet is a public space in the same sense as the sidewalks or the hallways at the mall. You have no expectation of privacy. Everyone can use the space so long as there is no intent to cause harm or damage. Just like a physical public space.

Philosophically, the internet is still a Public Place open to all, but we are in the early stages of turning it into a Commercial Space complete with all the rules and regulations that go along with commerce and taxation.We are in the early stages of internet regulation. As the economy moves toward online sales and businesses there is great pressure on governments to tax and regulate. With government intervention comes increased control over what will be allowed in the way of expression.

Is there a right to privacy while using the Internet?
According to the companies that provide some of the most popular services on the internet – NO. Online Privacy/Anonymity takes a lot of concerted effort. Most internet-enabled services derive a significant income stream from selling the information you provide them with.
Is the Internet free?
No. As the saying goes, if a service on the internet is free, most likely, you are the product. Most big tech companies are essentially advertising agencies. They profile your online habits and behavior and use the data to target products/services at you.
What is the right age for Children to Use the Internet?
Parents do have a very tricky balancing act to perform. On one hand it would be unwise to deny a child access to the most valuable educational resource available, but on the other, particularly with younger children, it is something that has to be monitored.The age when children start to use technology varies from family to family.
But somewhere between 4 and 5 years is indicated as the time when children first start using technology under adult supervision.
10 years to 13 years is what parents in various studies and online boards have cited as an age when children start using the internet independently.
What are the things parents should keep in mind while buying a child a cellphone?
  • Always opt for a basic handset for children. You may opt for ones that dial only your contact number with pre-paid connection.
  • Apps your children download must be given special consideration.
  • The social media usage must be under strict control.
  • Do not allow 4 to 5 years old to sit more than half an hour per sitting.
  • Do not allow 6 to 7 year olds to sit more than one hour per sitting.
  • High school students should limit the use to two hours.
  • Never allow your child to interact or use mobile phones while taking dinner.
  • Over-usage of mobile phones can result in eye problems. 20-20-20 rule must be followed. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away.

(source:- quora)

With the ever-changing technology, how can I be a good digital parent?
As parents, there are a few things you know, but how do you keep up? In order to bring some perspective and purpose around digital use, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself –
  • How does this new app/website/game work? How will my child use it? What will he/she gain from it?
  • Identify the positives and concerns. How will it positively or negatively impact the child and the family? How can we benefit? Where to draw the line?
  • Become a user yourself. How can I integrate technology in my own lifestyle to understand it better?
What kinds of Children are More Vulnerable Online?
  • Teenagers
  • Children questioning their sexuality
  • Children with Disability
  • Children with Low Self Esteem
  • Children with Mental health Issues
  • Children with High Level of Internet Access
  • Children Who Are Socially isolated
  • Children with Limited peer support
  • Children who have been Previously groomed offline

Knowing The Risks: Grooming

Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know. Groomers may be male or female and could be of… Know More »

Knowing The Risks: Inappropriate Content (Including Pornography)

Children may come across things online that are inappropriate for their age and development. You can prepare your child by showing them the best ways to avoid it as well as by using filters to block such content. What you think is inappropriate material for your child will probably differ from… Know More »

So You Caught Your Child Watching Porn. Now What?

Children below the age of 13 must not be exposed to porn. However, teenagers will watch porn. They were watching porn even before the internet. So what you need to do is gear up and have the talk. First, Prepare Yourself: Teenager’s interest in sex and voyeuristic behavior to satisfy… Know More »

Knowing the Risks: Sexting

Sexting is a common form of self-generated sexually explicit content often done by and among consenting individuals. There is also a non-consensual aspect to it which involves unwanted sharing or receiving sexually explicit photos or videos or messages. This can be done by both known as well as unknown people.… Know More »

Child Sexual Abuse Material

Child Sexual Abuse Material is the preferable alternative to using the team ‘Child Pornography’. It refers to material/content (videos/images/text/audio) depicting acts of sexual abuse against a child. Material depicting child is sexually explicit positions as well as those focusing explicitly on genitalia of a child may also be considered Child… Know More »

Knowing the Risks: Misinformation/Fake News

A few websites deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation — using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect. Unlike news satire, fake news websites seek to mislead, rather than entertain, readers for financial, political, or other gains. How it Spreads? False information spreads just like accurate information-… Know More »

Knowing The Risks: Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Trolling, Doxing

Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Why Cyberbullying is Different Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as… Know More »

Online Disinhibition Effect: Why We Behave the Way We Do On The Internet

Why do we shout and scream at each other on the internet? Why do we tend to lash out? Why do we seem to do the very things on the internet that we would never do in our lives outside of these online spaces? The online disinhibition effect is term… Know More »

Things To Do Once You Have Been Hacked

Ask Yourself Why? Step back, and ask yourself a more basic question: What was the reason for the breach? If it was your bank account, the answer may be obvious. In other cases, such as e-mail, it can be for a host of reasons — from using it to send… Know More »

How to Reclaim & Protect Your Privacy in 10 Easy Steps

Practice Selective Sharing: Everybody doesn’t need to know everything about us. Your friend doesn’t need to know what store you go to. Facebook doesn’t need to know your password security questions. You don’t need to have your mother’s maiden name on your Facebook page, if that’s what you use for… Know More »

Standard Age Appropriate Safety Measures

Safety Messages, Boundaries and Rules Need to evolve as your child grows and develops. Some age-appropriate suggestion have been listed below. Internet Safety For Early Childhood Start Early Be around your child when they sit on the computer. Don’t use technology as a babysitter Be responsive to what your child… Know More »

Don’t Panic- Things You Need to Know

If You Stumble Across Child Sexual Abuse Imagery Online, Don’t Panic. Report the Content on Aarambh India’s Hotline. If you Want to Report Child Sexual Abuse Cases, Don’t Panic Report the Content on the POCSO e-box. If you see a child in distress, Don’t Panic. Call 1098.