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Virtual risks and threats to children

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The web is full of knowledge and examples from others from which we can learn a lot. It is a sea of ideas and possibilities for growth in many ways. But it is also full of risks for everyone, especially the little ones who still do not have sufficient criteria to identify certain situations.

Risks range from fraud, identity theft, virus download, privacy violation, to more serious cases like extortion, kidnapping, rape of children and adolescents, trafficking, addictions, and bullying, among other things, that clearly affect our lives in the real world, not just virtual.

Here are some of the risks our kids take on the Internet. However, by listening to them, talking to them, caring for them, and paying attention to them, we can see if they are going through any of these problems and we will be ready to prevent everything from getting worse.

Fomo

As I told you, FOMO means “Fear of missing out”, which in Spanish can translate as the “fear of missing something or disconnecting”. It is one of the most common addictions of these times because our children – and even us – fear separating from their devices and not knowing what is happening in the online world, which causes them anxiety and irritating behavior.

It’s an addiction like any other, and it should be treated. How? With conversation, with education, giving them enough attention, with love.

Sexting

This popular term in our day refers to the exchange of text messages with sexual content and images. This messaging can be via WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS’s, Snapchat, and any social network on which you can enter text and images.

Older children who begin to be curious about these issues, as well as adolescents, are the main victims of this practice, because, in the face of something as natural as sex, they still do not have sufficient knowledge, nor the criterion to make the best decisions…. decisions that can significantly affect your self-confidence and future.

This is because, for example, a teenage girl may find it easy to take a picture of her genitals and send it to her boyfriend, without thinking that in a few years the relationship can end and that photograph runs the risk of driving uncontrolled between her acquaintances and beyond, also putting her safety at risk as a person.

Nothing like talking about sex with our children without fear, without taboos, without repressing them, and on the contrary, educating them sexually and letting them know that they can trust us.

Virtual challenges

The famous“challenges” are a great risk to the safety of our children. It all starts with someone who does some “madness” or uncontrolled action, shares it on video with their friends, and goes viral to become a challenge or “challenge” for other people.

For older children and teenagers, these challenges can be fun for them and they don’t think about the consequences, but it’s very important that we talk to them, that we know who their friends are, what they do together, etc., because only then can we know if something is wrong.

There are more “innocent” challenges that involve getting wet or dancing a certain song, but there are much more dangerous challenges that can end in third-degree burns, broken bones, or death.

Cyberbullying

Just like bullying in schools, cyberbullying is one of those threats that we need to be very careful with. This virtual risk is divided into several types. I’m asking you to identify them.

  • Flaming: It may look like a normal message, but it is immediately distinguished by its intention to upset and offend forum members or a particular person.
  • Online harassment: refers to the repeated sending of offensive messages via email, SMS, or WhatsApp to a person.
  • Cyberstalking: It is online harassment that includes threats of harm or excessive intimidation.
  • Denigration: Sending harmful, false, and cruel claims about one person to another or negative comments addressed to someone in forums.
  • Impersonation of the person: impersonate the victim and upload videos of that person to make them look bad or ridiculous.
  • Exclusion: cruel expulsion of someone from an online group.

Now you have an overview of some of the various risks our children can take by letting them browse the web or allow them to have a cell phone and open their social networks.

It’s not about us excluding them from the digital world. It’s about talking to them enough to strengthen their self-esteem and self-love, as this will make it harder for them to fall into risky situations, as well as constant dialogue to identify when something is wrong.


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