Internet Dangers for Young Children & What You Should Do

Everyone takes a risk when they use the Internet. Things like scams, viruses, and online predators are just a few of the dangers floating around the web. 

It is crucial that you and your children are aware of the dangers that come with using the Internet.

While we can all fall subject to these dangers, children are usually at a higher risk. Kids might not always think about the consequences of their actions, which can lead them to share too much information.  

Children need to be supervised if they have screen time and should be taught internet safety from an early age.

Preschoolers (ages 2-5)

Touch-screen devices make it very easy for young kids to navigate the Internet, which is why preschoolers are the fastest growing group of computer users. 

Children this age are usually partial to playing video games. This can lead to kids making in-game purchases without realizing they have left the game and redirected to a different area of the Internet. 

Consider taking these measures to keep your children safe:

  1. Do not save credit card information in the application store. Set your device to prompt for a password with every purchase. 
  1. Turn the device to “airplane mode” or disable the internet capability while kids are playing. 
  1. Talk to your children. Make sure they understand buying or exploring new games without talking to you can be dangerous. 

School-Aged Children (ages 5-12) 

As kids get older, they begin to use the Internet for a wider variety of things and venturing out of video games can open up new dangers for children. 

Children use the Internet to socialize, play inside virtual worlds, email, text, and complete school work. A simple typo in a web address can lead to an inappropriate site for kids.

As a parent, you want to see them grow in a positive and informative way with the internet. 

Here are some measures you can take to help make sure they stay safe: 

  1. Spam is one of the top concerns with kids in this age range. Scam messages can come through email, texts, chat rooms, video games, and virtual worlds. Install a pop-up blocker and inform your children not to respond to any unknown messages. 
  1. Bookmark your kid’s favorite websites and encourage your children to ask for help when they need to search the Internet.

Being proactive with internet safety teaches your children at an early age how to best navigate the web. It will benefit them in the long run and give you peace of mind when your kids are online.