The Internet is part of the daily life of children and teenagers, even the youngest among them.
Every day, worldwide, 170,000 children go online for the first time.
In Europe, 73% of children use the Internet before the age of two.
A digital identity, regardless of an individual’s age, is a set of information published on the Internet that makes it possible to recognize an individual. For a child, it is the same thing. Thus, it is not necessary to create an account on a social network to have a digital identity. In reality, they leave digital traces on each of the websites where they agree to reveal an element of their personality or their life.
Sometimes, it is the parents themselves who begin the creation of their children’s digital identity. By 2019, 33% of parents had started posting photos of their babies under six months of age on the Internet, on a global scale.
Before we look at the good practices to pass on to our children, it is important to look at the good practices that their parents can put in place.
The risks faced by children are quite different from those faced by their parents. At the top of the list is online child sexual abuse and harassment (school and non-school based). Also, posting pictures of children and disclosing accurate information about their tastes or habits can expose them to real dangers.
Some Orange Cyberdefense experts recommend never posting photos of your children facing the camera and/or in swimsuits, and never publishing personal information such as their first or last names.
The use of a webcam cache, antivirus, and parental control software on each of the devices to which the child can have access (and especially the parents’ smartphone) are also among the tips that come up most often among our experts.
Once a child enters adolescence, it is quite difficult to monitor his Internet activities. So, while toddlers and children can be accompanied every time they surf the net, the best thing to do is to educate them as early as possible.
The members of the Safer Internet Centre advocate opening the dialogue early enough, on a positive note. Here are some of the questions they recommend:
These questions seem simple enough, but they can be used to adapt to the parents’ speech to their child’s actual uses.
If there were only two rules to impose on children, regardless of their age, they would be the following:
This means making children understand that their digital identity must be different from their real identity. To do this, Orange Cyberdefense experts (who are also parents) have used the following techniques.
For toddlers :
At this age, dialogue remains key. Children must have enough confidence in their parents to be able to ask for help without fear of being reprimanded.
Advice for parents, given by the Safer Internet Centre, can be consulted here.
Super Awesome, 2018
Business Wire, 2019
Heaven, Born Social, 2019