The dangers of the Internet are not limited to pornographic sites. All users of the Internet are exposed to very real risks, ranging from the theft of personal information to online bullying, along with various forms of scams.
As new technologies evolve, the dangers and pitfalls are diversifying and becoming increasingly difficult to discern, making use of the Internet increasingly risky for children.
It is essential for any Internet user, whether regular or occasional, child or teenager, to be able to detect potentially dangerous situations and to protect themselves.
In the recent years, the Web became the most used media by young people. More and more of them have a smart phone and/or a tablet and access the internet no matter where they are. This mobility prevents their parents from monitoring them effectively, as the violent, racist and gambling sites and sites glorifying anorexia multiply. Without control or barriers, a minor could access them very easily.
Between spam distributed via social networks, phishing emails received directly from friends accounts which have been hacked, dangerous stunt videos, posts on current trends on the "right weight" to have or more recently the "thigh gap", children and teenagers are subjected to a daily bombardment of content not suitable for general viewing.
Children and teenagers are a prime target for online criminals: major consumers of entertainment content and social networks, they do not have the maturity or experience necessary to discern a dangerous situation or potentially harmful content.
According to multiple studies, more than one child in two has reportedly been approached by a stranger online, and the UN estimate around 750,000 predators are searching for contact with children on the Internet.
The best protection against the dangers of the Internet is the education of children in order to raise awareness about wise use of the Web, with clear explanations and examples of behaviours. At school, this role of support and explanation is provided by teachers, at home this role must be carried out by parents or older siblings.
But monitoring and constant presence is not possible, either because of lack of availability of parents or the (increasingly asserted) desire of the child or teenager to have independence and their ability to be always connected via efficient mobile devices. How do we explain to a teenager that it is for their own good that their parents wish to limit or control their private activities on the Internet?
This is why a discreet but effective parental control, present on all fixed or mobile devices managing Web access, helps to protect minors against the various dangers of the Internet and so is a valuable aid in the education process conducted by parents.