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Keeping kids safe online

May 12, 2022

By Mumtaz Saley-Moosa
11:05:2022

In a realistic world, we all want our kids to stay offline as much as possible, but the reality is that it is easier said than done. The online world has become the norm for children, and it is part and parcel of their future.

UNICEF South Africa has released a study that suggests almost 70% of children are online without their parents’ consent. 25% of children admitted to adding strangers to their social media accounts. 

Suggestions from experts say that it’s time parents talk to their kids about the online world as this could result in card fraud, identity theft and much more.  One of the biggest challenges is getting children to understand the virtual world and its consequences on the real world.

A few years ago, my son met an acquaintance with whom he shared his username and passwords to his Xbox. Luckily, he told us about it. We had to sit him down and explain that even though he is a friend, passwords and accounts are an online identity; once a friend gets in, they can change passwords, buy games from the card saved to his account and lock him out of account entirely. 

We see this as the perfect time to school him about the dangers one may face online, and this is an important conversation that we all need to have with our children from the early age of six. We have limited him in terms of apps and screen time, but we also had to acknowledge that he has to be online for school work. Many great apps can be downloaded to control what is being seen online; social media has now a teen mode that parents control, and so on.  As a parent, we still need to ensure we allow children to understand that passwords and credit card information is confidential and not to be shared even amongst family members. 

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