The Internet with a lot of harmful content is no longer a safe place for children, so looking after a child in real life is difficult, but protecting your child from the Internet is even more of a challenge. Because parents can’t ban their children from using the Internet, but they also can’t let them go uncontrolled and be subsequently traumatized.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the top 6 Internet dangers children can be exposed to (Part 1) to help parents raise awareness of protecting children in the online world. Part 2 is also available now, don’t forget to check it out!
Top 1 Internet dangers children are facing – Negative digital footprint
One of the most online dangers for children is negative digital footprint. A digital footprint is a data trace your child creates while using the Internet. It includes the websites your kid visit, the emails they send, and the information they submit.
Be careful when letting your kids join in private group chat
A lot of kids often “let go” of all their worries and sorrows on social media, and this is never a good idea. Sending text messages, and posting statuses to release their current anger can make them more satisfied than they are now, but they will have to feel guilty or regretful in the future.
Shamming or hurting others is a very common occurrence on social media, known as cyberbullying. Tell your child to regularly read and re-read the messages, comments, descriptions, and statuses they are about to send or post because what they are going to make public can affect badly their friends, and even make them commit suicide.
For example, according to a Harvard Crimson report, in a chat group, students sent each other memes and pictures that mocked sexual assault, the death of children, and more. Besides, some of the messages make jokes about child abuse as sexually arousing, while others contain content aimed at specific ethnic or racial groups.
After being informed of the conversation and its content, Harvard administrators took action by canceling applications for at least 10 members of the group.
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Negative effects of internet dangers children are exposed to
- The negative psychological impact on children persists into adulthood: When sensitive images of children shared with others are exposed online and spread forever, the impact on children is enormous. Shame and even mental illness can happen if your child is in that situation.
- Affect the child’s positive profile image: Any content that is spread online will affect the image children build in the future. Children will have a hard time finding good judgment from others if things like inappropriate images or statements are spread.
- Children’s community, friends, family, and even their future boss can potentially see everything they share or do online. Negative comments, reviews, lewd pictures and trolling can harm children and their family’s reputation no matter how long ago the actions took place.
- Put financial security at risk – sharing too much personal information online could make children be a victim of criminals. Posting sensitive information could bring identity thieves on tail, and sharing sensitive media files could make children be a victim of stalking or blackmail
- Ruin children’s scholarship opportunities – any distasteful material or immature posts could prevent your child from getting one.
Top 2 Internet dangers – Harmful content
Research shows that most pornography and sex addiction begin in adolescence. However, most parents do not act to prevent this problem any sooner. Partly because they are subjective that their kids will never do it, partly because many parents don’t take seriously the negative effects of watching pornography on kids.
According to the survey, 11 is the average age of being exposed to porn online and this age is shortened to 7. Most of them did not intentionally search for it, they stumbled upon pornographic content and felt this was the type of content that most affected them negatively.
When kids watch porn, they often describe feelings as “awful” and “confused”, especially children under 10 years old.
An 18-year-old girl who has watched extreme pornography and violence since 7, claims that it still haunts her, affects her sexual preferences, and changes her feminist opinion.
The period under 10 years old is the period when children interact and explore the outside world, so they are prone to imitate and be influenced by negative factors.
Inappropriate content such as accidental, bloody, animal abuse, violent, and especially pornographic content can make children uncomfortable, confused, and obsessed in the future.
Early exposure to pornography can cause detrimental effects
There is a part of the brain called vmPFC that has been extensively studied in the literature and is believed to be involved in human decision-making. When your child watches pornography, vmPFC’s gray matter decreases, resulting in a decrease in self-control.
Addiction to pornography affects vmPFC, leading to thought impairment, where the brain is stimulated by the thought of watching porn and not having it. Pornography increases this thought until your child can realize they have to watch continuously sex in response to a stimulus.
This causes undesirable emotions when viewers experience a stressful situation where the conditional response to viewing pornography is to ease the stress.
Many teenagers in qualitative research claim that pornography actually negatively impacts the way they perceive their bodies. For boys, this mostly revolves around penis size, although some also report feeling anxious about not having the attractively muscular strength to attract other girls.
Meanwhile, girls worry about not having big breasts, big butt or sexy curves to be attractive in the eyes of their boyfriends.
The aggression and violence against women found in most popular pornography can teach your children (especially boys) that aggression towards women is socially tolerated and accepted to be hostile towards women.
Since then, pornography causes your child to lose their sensitivity and empathy for women, and instead, your child will see women as a sexual tool. This is evident in porn films where male actors exhibit such a lack of empathy towards women that sexual abuse in these films is completely normal.
- Watching porn makes your child become a porn addict:
One negative impact of a child’s brain on porn is that children who regularly access pornography are more likely to become porn addicts. They will find they want and need more pornography, even though they don’t like it. This disconnect between desire and like is a prominent feature of dysfunction in the reward system.
Your child is motivated to watch more sex movies or to watch more weird and violent pornography to regain the same stimulus as the first time.
- Pornography affects your child’s brain and cognitive development
Early access to pornography is closely related to the erosion of a child’s prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain that contains executive functions such as morality, will and impulse control.
Meanwhile, when watching pornography, children increasingly choose to use more violent forms of pornography; This can be due to the desensitization of regular sex film consumption.
During adulthood, especially in adolescence, the prefrontal cortex is still underdeveloped during this period. This is why your child struggles to adjust to his or her emotions and impulses. Damage to the prefrontal cortex during adulthood is called a decrease in cerebral blood flow in the prefrontal cortex.
Top 3 Internet dangers – Gaming scams
Doxxing – Stealing information online
One of the risks of a child using the Internet is call Doxxing. Doxxing, also known as online information theft, occurs when someone’s personal information is published online to let others harass and annoy them. This can include anything from their address, and phone number to information about their family.
Doxxing happens a lot in the gaming world. The most famous example is the 2014 Gamergate incident. Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, was publicly accused of sleeping with a journalist. Her ex has revealed her address and she has been harassed both online and in person.
Children today are interested in online games and frequently participate in activities on game websites. It is not excluded that children will become victims of online information theft because they are young, lack precaution, are easy to reveal identity information, and easily grasp weaknesses. That why doxxing become one of the common Internet dangers children easily encounter on the online world.
Negative impacts of gaming scams
- Reputation suffers if personal information is leaked: The case of Zoe Quinn is a prime example of how revealing personal information in a game directly affects real life.
- Negative psychological impact on children persists into adulthood: Problems of fear, depression, grief, etc. can occur in young children when they are deceived and bring about distrust for all children. everyone in the future.
- Negative comments, reviews, and trolls can harm children if the situation of their child being scammed is made fun of.
- Put financial security at risk – sharing too much personal information online could make children be a victim of criminals. Posting private information could bring identity thieves on tail, and sharing personal media files could make children be a victim of stalking or blackmail
- Identity can be stolen to cause illegal activities such as using game nicks to cheat and smearing children’s reputations. And children will have to get involved in those unwanted events
How to prevent the Internet dangers children are exposed to
- Take your child’s problems seriously. Listen to everything your child has to say and make sure they feel safe talking to you. Never lose your temper and scold or scare your child, because that will make the child become more distant from you and will limit sharing all his problems with you in the future.
- Try a Google search for your children’s names to see what was posted and take steps to remove it.
- Make sure all your child’s Internet profiles are private and use a VPN for added security.
- Proactively remove data from websites that pose a risk of exposing your children’s personal information.
- Install an online content filter tool: With millions of harmful sites creeping into the Internet every hour, every minute, even if your kids are not curious, they are still at an extremely high risk of accessing them, which leads to porn addiction, poor academic performance, or imitation of dangerous behaviors. No parent wants that to happen!
That’s why, to keep your children safe more effectively, you should consider using CyberPurify Kids – a content filtering tool to filter 15 types of harmful content online such as:
- Horror content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
This free tool can help you minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment but at same time, still respecting their privacy rights.
CyberPurify Kids is available for Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Get your children an online protector here!
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