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The internet is an incredible tool for children to learn, socialize and have fun. However, with one in three internet users being under 18 years old, the risks associated with online activity are significant and continue to grow. Last year, approximately three out of four children worldwide experienced at least one cyber risk. To help keep your children safe, this guide to internet safety offers valuable tips and advice. As a parent or guardian, protecting your child's online well-being is more important than ever.

In the Philippines, where internet usage among children and adolescents is widespread, educating both parents and children about the potential risks associated with online activities is crucial.

Much like in many other countries, Filipino children are active users of social media platforms and other online services for their personal and educational use. This exposes them to various risks such as cyberbullying, online predators and scams. Initiating discussions about online safety early, setting clear ground rules and monitoring internet activity are essential for Filipino parents to safeguard their children's online experiences.

Gilbert T. Trinchera
Technology Consulting Partner
KPMG in the Philippines

Considering the Philippines' rapid progress in the technology sector, it is vital to advocate for secure online habits and responsible engagement with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or AI. These initiatives are essential not only for the welfare but also for the future achievements of Filipino youth.

Talk about online safety early and be a proactive parent

Start talking to your kids about internet safety at a young age. By having these discussions early on, you can help them make smart choices and develop healthy online habits. Educating them about responsible internet use, privacy protection and potential dangers will also protect them from risks. Remember, it's never too early to establish a foundation for safe internet usage.

  • Young people are always eager to learn. Teach them how to create secure passwords, recognize secure webpages, avoid scams, practice appropriate online behavior and other skills for safe online activity.
  • Don’t give out personal information. Remind children to never give out personal information, like their full name, home address, passwords or phone numbers, to anyone they don't know.
  • Be careful with strangers. Talk to kids about the potential dangers of interacting with strangers online and warn them against ever meeting anyone in person without your knowledge and consent.
  • Ask questions. Be sure to ask your child questions about their online activities, such as what sites they visit and who they communicate with. Encourage them to be open about what they're saying and seeing online.
  • Set clear ground rules. Moderate screen time by setting boundaries for how long your child is online and what they can do. Screen time unrelated to schoolwork can be made available after homework is complete or on weekends. Keep computers and devices in a common area to oversee all activity.
  • Restrict internet access and monitor activity. You don't have to be a cyber pro to protect your children online. Parental control apps and those built into devices and Wi-Fi routers are user-friendly. These controls allow you to set access times, monitor internet activity and block website categories. Knowing what your kids are doing online can help to keep them safe. Use this as an opportunity to show your children which websites are appropriate for their age group.
  • Practice what you preach. Set a good example with your own online presence. Demonstrate safe behavior and practices.

Social media safety tips

Social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives and valuable tools for communication and entertainment. However, there are also significant risks associated with these platforms, especially for children. Kids' misuse of social media can expose them to various dangers, including cyberbullying and online predators.

To keep your children safe, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Age restrictions. Most social media platforms have age restrictions. Ensure they are followed and monitor their use.
  • Pause before you post. Teach your children to be mindful of the comments and pictures they post and stress never to share personal information like their age, school, address or full name. Explain that once it’s online, it remains on the internet. This is especially important as kids grow and look for summer jobs — most employers will do a basic online search of potential candidates.
  • Follow your child. Monitor social media activity by following your child online. You don’t have to participate, just view profiles and posts regularly.
  • Review social media parental guidance pages. To learn more about protecting your child’s social media accounts review parental guidance pages.
  • Ensure your child’s profile is always set to ‘private’ mode via account settings and teach them about social privacy settings.

Navigating the world of AI safely and securely

As artificial intelligence (AI) programs gain popularity, it's common for children to become curious about them. However, having conversations with kids about responsible and appropriate tech usage is crucial. Consider the following tips to help your family explore and learn about AI together.

How does it work? Explain to your kids how AI technology works so they can appreciate its benefits, understand its potential limitations and learn how to use it effectively. Give them some examples they may already be familiar with to help them comprehend what it is.

How to engage with it. AI tools can help kids be creative and learn new skills. Talk to your kids about AI technology that excites them. Get them thinking about how the programs could help them learn and grow. Encourage them to be critical of the information they get from new technology and to use their creativity to complement AI.

What are the risks? Kids should understand that AI has limitations that can cause inaccurate and biased results. Hackers can also manipulate AI by changing data, which can lead to wrong predictions. Don't forget to remind kids that AI lacks emotional understanding and cannot replace human relationships and connections.

To help kids and teens develop safe internet habits, parents can promote safe practices and stay involved. For more resources about safe online habits, please visit kpmg.com/cyberday.

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication: https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2023/09/get-cyber-smart.html

© 2023 R.G. Manabat & Co., a Philippine partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more information, you may reach out to KPMG in the Philippines Technology Consulting Partner Gilbert T. Trinchera through ph-kpmgmla@kpmg.com, social media or visit www.home.kpmg/ph.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent KPMG International or KPMG in the Philippines.