Nowadays, the internet has become more of a playground with something for everyone to enjoy and have fun with. At the same time, it also poses some risks and dangers, particularly for the young crowd who are not fully aware of the danger that is not too visible but lurks nearby in the form of Dark Web.
The Dark Web
The Dark Web is that corner of the web synonymous with criminal and unethical activities. These shady areas of the web host tons of dangers and can be a parent’s worst nightmare. From identity theft to drugs to weapon trade to suicide and things as horrendous as child pornography, the Dark Web is certainly a very dark place.
The internet is not a safe place for children and the Blue Whale Challenge is a popular example. It sent a wave of terror worldwide by preying on the teenagers’ need for peer acceptance. The users were tricked into performing dares that gradually became riskier, and eventually, fatal. The tasks involved a variety of activities, including self-harm, cyberbullying, and even online shaming. The game took the life of many children and young adults all over the world.
Can you imagine your child being exposed to such an influence? Of course not. The Dark Web has all this and more. What makes Dark Web unsafe and perilous for your kids is the ease of access.
TOR is the main gateway to step into the Dark Web, allowing the user complete anonymity to hide their identity and activity. And anyone with illegal and dangerous intent could use Dark Web. TOR is one of the ways to access the Dark web. It is free and simple to download. It allows anyone to access the horrifying content and activities that take place in the Dark Web.
You might have heard your kid talking about TOR, their friends might be using it. They may have downloaded it already.
What should parents do?
Parents need to pay special attention to such a possibility and ensure that your kids don’t go down this path. You should be able to recognize it if you come across it on their devices or hear them talking about it. Unmonitored and unregulated access to the internet via PCs, laptops, or smartphones could make the kids explore this deepest and darkest area of the cyber world, making it all the more essential for parents to be in the know of their children’s digital activities.
The threat of Dark Web is real, and if you want to keep children to keep them away from the damaging influences.
Here are some of the ways you can keep your kids safe from the Dark Web:
Monitor online activity
Although you must give space and privacy to your children, at the same time, you need to be vigilant. Check your child’s devices for TOR software and see that they don’t have any unknown or suspicious-looking browsers on their phone.
Check their devices for any software, applications, or tools that indicate suspicious activity or use of TOR or I2P access. You must monitor your child’s activities on the internet that includes the websites he visits, the people he interacts with, and the groups and clubs he has joined. If you get to know that your child has been using TOR to access the Dark Web, look out for any unusual packages getting delivered at your place.
Educate via open discussion
When children fail to get enough attention from you, they try to get it from somewhere else. And that attention is often harmful at times when they get it from strangers online who could be groomers, pedophiles or sexual predators.
You should always have time for children. Talk to them and have discussions about different things with them. Talk about their school life, their likes, interests, and fears. Make a point about to know about what they do on the internet. This allows you to create a comfortable equation between you two so that they can come to you whenever something is out place or stranger for them. Having a comfort level also lets you talk to them about critical issues like bullying, drugs, sex education, sharing information online, and violent behavior.
While you talk to them, ask your kids what they already know and then build on that. The reason many youngsters are attracted to the Dark Web is the secrecy associated with it. As a parent, you should take charge and tell your children about the real dangers of Dark Web that include child sex trafficking, child abuse images or videos, sextortion, and other illegal activities.
Stay in Touch
Use smart gadgets and apps to keep track of your children. Using monitoring apps such as Xnspy is a great way to keep track of your child’s internet activities. This way, you can remotely see what they do on their phones all day long, particularly on the internet. You can monitor everything from a distance and intervene if need be. The app also lets you block sites and apps you think are inappropriate for your kids. Owing to tons of digital threats, your child needs to have a parent who brings digital savviness to the relationship.
Keep track of their online shopping
Even though you have given your child a debit or credit card, you should check it frequently. See that you link it to your account. This would let you see the transactions your child makes online and the origin of these purchases as well.
Monitor their online transactions as well as empty delivery cartons. It is important to know if they have access to anonymous currencies like bitcoins, which you can know by tracking the package details and the mode of payment your child has used to pay for it.
Try a digital detox
All of us spend a lot of time with digital devices. Perhaps a lot more than we should. That has its consequences on your mental health, sleeping patterns, and relationships too. And our kids, who begun using a smartphone/toddler when they were barely two, are more addicted to technology.
So, you must help them break the shackles. You have to teach them that it’s perfectly alright not to check your phone notifications for hours. Try to break them away from their screen. Do a digital detox together. Invest your time into some physical activities or outdoors even, without any technology.
Indulge in some quality time together as a family. Learn something new, do something at home, take a walk in the park, go camping, etc. Try doing this from a young age so that your kids become used to it. Your children should always know something to do to kill time other than using screens.
Like most things present in our lives, the internet also comes with its pros and cons. With the right guidance, you could pave a safe pathway for your children to learn and grow from the information around them. Lack of proper regulation could prove to be destructive for your child and his future.
As a digital parent of Generation Z, ensure that you not only keep them safe from online threats but educate them timely so that they do not lure towards them. Using the above limits could help you do just that and keep them from the Dark Web.