Canadian Young Investors Society, Journalism Team
February 25th, 2023
The Internet has the power to share information, bring loved ones together, and bridge the gap between cultures, but it has the power to be just as destructive. The wonderous age of
information has gifted us the ability to access information worldwide with absolute convenience and further integrate technology into our daily lives.
Children as young as four years old are using smartphones. It raises the question, what is the
appropriate age for your child to own a mobile phone? ExpressVPN’s survey reveals that
parents of children ages 4 to 13 are increasingly worried about the dangers of social media.
Even though most social media platforms do not allow children younger than 13 to operate their accounts, they can still create accounts under parental supervision.
What social media platform was most associated with negative experiences, as voted by
children in the survey:
1. YouTube (43%)
2. Facebook (35%)
3. TikTok (28%)
4. Roblox (27%)
5. Instagram (26%)
Potential Threats That Children Face Online
Be it cyberbullying, trolling, grooming, or cyberstalking, children are vulnerable to multiple online threats. Exposure to offensive or inappropriate content is risky, and children can easily fall prey to predatory accounts. The average screen time of younger children has been increasing substantially in recent years. It is a given that parents can not continuously monitor what their children are doing online, which is why educating young children about issues like grooming and bullying is essential. After all, stranger danger does not only exist in real life; it is equally dangerous to interact with strangers online.
How To Protect Children Online?
With the increasing worry among parents for their child’s protection, it is essential to take
precautionary measures. Parents should openly communicate with their children from a young age about who to interact with online and explain why having conversations with strangers can be dangerous.
Multiple websites and software allow adults to set parental controls on their devices. These
controls also help block sites and content that could be inappropriate for younger children. Even though these blocks are ineffective, they hide almost all explicit and age-restricted content from websites. If your child uses social media, try not to breach their privacy. Encouraging children to have conversations regarding their social media interactions is more effective. If parents act hostile towards their children for using social media, there are chances that they will stop communicating. This could isolate the child and make them more prone to online grooming.
It is not advised to stop children from using the Internet completely. Parents must block certain content and set up firewalls on their devices. This way, they can monitor their children's social media activity. To protect younger children from threats on social media, it is best to educate them about various issues. This way, the children will remain aware while interacting with people online. Access ExpressVPN's survey: https://www.expressvpn.com/blog/survey-children-on-social-media/
About our team
Harrison is the Chief Editor of the Canadian Youth Journal for Investing. In addition to the journal, he is also on the national exec team at CYIS and a Business Editor at the Harriton Banter.
For inquiries regarding publication please contact Harrison at: firstname.lastname@example.org