This Mother's Day, be a cyber mom

May 13, 2018, 16:11 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

May 13 also known as Mother's Day pays homage to our everyday superheroes-who-don't-wear-a-cape

This Mother’s Day, be a cyber momRepresentational picture

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, Google India shares some tips and tricks on how mothers can do their bit to keep their children safe online

May 13 — also known as Mother’s Day — pays homage to our everyday superheroes-who-don't-wear-a-cape. And on the occasion of this Mother’s Day, Google India’s Trust and Safety Team, led by Sunita Mohanty, a mother herself, shares some tips with all the mothers out there, as to how they can secure and safeguard their children’s digital footprint, and prevent them from things like cyber-bullying and identity theft.

Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust and Safety, Google India, has taken to educate mothers on becoming cyber moms; over the past couple of months, the team has been conducting workshops/ training sessions to help mothers become vocal advocates to keep themselves and their children safe online.

"The trusted relationship one has in a physical space gets diluted online," she said, making an apt observation. "Teenagers who have their own smartphones have their location settings on most of the time, and are easy to trace. Also, there’s no guarantee that the person on the other end is a real person or not." But how does one bridge the gap between them and their children? “We call it being a Cyber Mom. Mothers need to have a good rapport with their kids, and open with them. If the mother can themselves acknowledge a mistake in front of their children, it encourages the child to, in turn, open to her."

Ignorant of the risks involved, unsuspecting kids today are prone to facing the internet risks including identity theft, phishing and cyber-bullying in the guise of emotional harassment, defamation and social exclusion, online sexual offences etc. "A lot of times cyber-bullying happens in a small group, and offline physical problems enter into an online world," concluded Mohanty. “Teachers and schools need to proactively take part and come together to prevent such things from happening."

This Mother’s Day, be a cyber momSunita Mohanty, Director, Trust and Safety, Google India

Tips and Tricks

  • When in doubt, talk it out: Encourage your children to talk about their web experiences with you. Be vocal about your family’s rules and expectations around technology, so that children can use the internet independently.
  • Safer experiences: Mothers act like cushions to insulate their children from the perils of the outside world. Cyber moms can arm themselves with features like the SafeSearch filter and YouTube Restricted Mode to make sure children are not exposed to malicious or racy content.
  • Explore the web together: Remember how you’ve always kept a watch on your kids in parks and playgrounds while letting them explore new surroundings? Similarly, let your kids use their devices in open spaces so you can see what they consume digitally and at the same time educate them about online safety.
  • Secure your secrets: Teach your kids the importance of controls and help them set up secure passwords online. Just like moms coach their kids about the concept of ‘stranger-danger’, cyber moms can explain the practice of not sharing their passwords or other personal details with strangers online and being internet savvy.
  • Kindness goes a long way: It is important to teach kids about responsible communication. “If it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post." Having a conversation about not hurting anyone’s feelings online will help kids develop a positive personality on the web.

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