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Safeguards: Keeping children safe online requires effort

One method some parents use in an attempt to keep children safe on the internet is to restrict access to digital devices and/or time spent on them. That is about to become more difficult in many homes.

Many school systems have accelerated programs to provide digital devices such as iPads and Chromebooks to students, as they work toward the possibility that remote learning will be necessary again this fall.

Good. Being able to navigate the online world has become an important component in education.

But more emphasis on it by school systems probably means more children will be spending more time online. That may be a problem.

This week, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warned of the increased danger of identity theft due to more youngsters spending more time at home, due to the COVID-19 epidemic. As he pointed out, “Every smartphone, tablet and gaming device poses an increased risk of identity theft by way of malicious apps and social networks.”

In addition, of course, there is the danger of internet predators who would harm children physically.

Morrisey’s advice is good — and it will remain relevant after the coronavirus epidemic is history, because use of digital devices for education is becoming more common.

Safeguards such as monitoring children’s online activities, talking to them about danger lurking on the internet, insisting on strict privacy settings for social media and warning youngsters about downloading content–even opening email attachments–are becoming more important. In terms of identity theft, bear in mind that if you have an unsecured home wi-fi network, criminals may be able to gain access to your computer.

Providing every child with some sort of computer to use at home is a wonderful step forward for public education. It is up to parents and guardians to ensure the blessing is an unmixed one.

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