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Communication risks on the net

When people talk to each other, it doesn’t seem dangerous to us at first. Today, communication also takes place digitally, and that entails various risks. On the occasion of Safer Internet Day 2020 we would like to show you how you and your family can use digital media safely despite communication risks.

Talking in pictures: When we write messages via Messenger, we not only use letters, but also emojis. However, care should be taken to avoid misunderstandings. Learn more in our article Communication with Emojis.

Communication is a basic human need. We exchange ideas with each other in different situations – even when gaming. Computer gaming often happens together, even if you’re sitting in different places while doing it. Communication takes place via a headset or the chat function within a game. You don’t always know who’s talking to you on the other end. If possible, you should block foreign contacts. What else there is to consider, you can read in our article Communication in online games .

Contact by strangers is risky because we don’t know the person’s intentions and who is actually communicating with us. Is it really the same age gamer friend? When strange adults write to children or young people via various social media services in order to initiate sexual contact, this is known as cybergrooming. It’s a serious risk that you can minimize by knowing what your child is doing online. Talk to him about possible risks, educate him about privacy settings and blocking options within apps, and above all, always be approachable!

Sometimes communication with friends and acquaintances can also become problematic. Among young people, there is a risk of cyberbullying, for example, via chat groups. It is helpful if rules are agreed on how to deal with messenger chats. Discuss this with other parents and your child’s teachers. Likewise, talk to your child about how to deal with insults and nasty comments. Rabble-rousing on the net can also spoil the fun of posting videos and photos on the net. Thinking carefully about what you post or share is the first step to a safe browsing experience.

You can learn even more about communication risks and how to deal with them in these posts:

Dark Social – the dark side of the Internet?

A particular advantage of the Internet is fast and easy communication. Most often, we use social networks and messenger services for this purpose. However, usually only those who write and chat with each other know what it’s all about. The contents remain hidden from the outside. That’s a good thing, too, because after all, some things you only want to discuss with your best friend or with mom.

What does Dark Social mean?

However, people also use these communication channels who have other intentions than keeping personal things to themselves. They want to spread false news and manipulate opinions. What we know as fake news from news portals or social networks is also increasingly taking place in hidden, i.e. dark networks. This is referred to as dark social because there is no insight into the communication. No one can control whether the Internet is abused in this way. Radicals or people with extreme political views use chat groups to target people and build trust. They sneak into such chats through others, spreading messages that others forward carelessly.

Dark Social Risks

This is a danger not only for children and teenagers, because it feels like chatting with friends or family via the smartphone. Messages you get in what should be a private chat group look credible because you know the person who shared them. One assumes quite unthinkingly that the report is actually true and does not question it. In this way, false reports can spread quickly and opinions can be manipulated.

This is what you and your children should pay attention to

No matter where you get information from, you should question it critically and not believe everything. That is certainly easy to say. A tip: You should be careful and better check news items that particularly stir or excite you emotionally. Can you find references to it elsewhere? Research the news story on the Internet and look at a variety of sources. Think about where the information came from and who spread it. Even if a friend, close confidant or relative writes, in many cases it’s worth just asking. You and your child should be especially critical when casual acquaintances or contacts spread information. In Messenger groups, too, you should be sensitive to fake news, hate speech, and insults to individual groups.

When your child recognizes that you, as a parent, are critical of information, you encourage such behavior in your child as well. Explain to him why some people manipulate information and how to handle information.

Young people in particular are constantly looking for role models and want to feel they belong. They build up their own values and ideals, which can be negatively influenced by third parties.

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