Healthy Living Blog – Internet Safety for Youth While Learning Online
The shift to remote online learning because of COVID-19 has made children and teens across the country spend more time online. Not only are their classes online, but also some of their extracurricular activities and their friends. Increased time online can be risky because children and teens can be exposed to more harmful content and behaviors. More internet use comes with more responsibility for parents to keep their children and/or teens safe.
What are some online risks?
- Cyberbullying. Children and adolescents may become victims to mean comments and messages online. This can increase feelings of social isolation, depression, and anxiety. On the other hand, they may be a part of bullying other peers online.
- Privacy risks. The apps and websites children and teens may use for school have a risk of getting hacked — most websites have a risk of getting hacked. This means that hackers can easily steal and use personal information for their purposes.
- Online sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Children and adolescents may be contacted by adult strangers or people they know who are sexually interested in them. These adults may build a relationship with them to sexually abuse them. They might pressure children and teens to send sexual pictures or videos of themselves. They might also send unwanted sexual content to the child or teen.
Ways children and teenagers can be safe online during COVID-19
- Talk about the importance of internet safety with parents. This includes discussing the online dangers. Create and agree on guidelines for internet use such as allowed websites, time spent online, time spent playing games or talking with friends, and time spent doing school or homework.
- Parents can set up privacy settings and parental controls for online games, social media sites, and electronic devices. They should also understand the privacy risks of the apps and websites used by their child or teen. Make sure that every electronic device has the latest software update and anti-virus protection program.
- Parents: be aware of possible signs of sexual abuse, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior. Children and teens may be embarrassed or have symptoms of anxiety or depression if they have been sexually abused or harassed.
- Children and teens and their parents should have fun online! This can mean playing online games or doing creative activities from websites and videos.
- Use the internet to help form healthy habits. There are many exercise videos to boost physical activity. Parents can encourage their child or teen to get up and move during breaks between online classes.
Have questions or curious to learn more about AACI services? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!