The Internet makes life easier, mainly for adults. And although it leads young people and children to discover the universe in which we live in a way that other generations did not experience, it also exposes them to dangers that put their physical and emotional integrity at risk. To combat this, Google and the Ministry of Public Education joined forces and created a program that sensitizes the smallest digital users.
“One of our missions is to teach end users the best practices on digital citizenship and online security, designing educational programs in collaboration with different education departments, with parents’ associations and different NGOs,” said Margarita Abella, Specialist in Education to users in Digital Security of Google Mexico.
Ukraine, Turkey, India and Chile already implement it with the aim of educating children on online safety issues in schools.
Threats faced by children and youth on the internet
According to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Institute for Children and Adolescents, minors who use the internet, whether for academic or recreational activities, face a series of risks that make them easy targets for criminals. The main threats are:
Sexual abuse or exploitation of children and adolescents online.
All forms of sexual abuse facilitated by information technologies and spread by online media.
For example, sexting, which is the self-production of sexual images, exchange of images or videos with sexual content; or extortion, blackmail towards children or adolescents who threaten them by means of intimidating messages to spread sexual images or videos generated by the victims themselves, the intention of the criminals is to continue with sexual exploitation or to have sexual relations.
It is a form of harassment and aggression that occurs between peers using new technologies, with the intention of spreading cruel messages or images that go viral. The rapid spread and its permanence on the Internet enhance the aggression towards the victim.
Exposure to harmful content.
Access or exposure, intentionally or accidentally, to violent, sexual or hate-generating content, being detrimental to its development.
Publication of private information.
It includes all kinds of sensitive information of a personal, academic or family nature that is published online, whether on social networks or websites.
Given the exposure and severity of these threats on the internet for children and adolescents, we share 10 basic safety tips that you can apply with your children, siblings or any minor you know:
- Use parental control filters.
- Control cookies and browsing history to know where you are browsing.
- Teach them not to chat with strangers.
- Teach them not to show photos, provide personal information, or share their daily routine.
- Educate them about the risks of misleading advertising.
- Inform them about spam and supervise the downloads they need to make.
- Supervise that they use nicknames when playing online.
- Encourage them to share what they do, what they play, what they see, who they relate to, what they talk about, etc.