The vast majority of parents across the country know full well that their kids are online for big chunks of almost every day. Whether they're chatting with friends, watching videos, or spending time on social media, children tend to live a lot of their lives on the internet. However, that comes with an inherent risk, because many may not know about the potential threats they face online. It's therefore very important for parents to educate them about how to avoid these problems.

One issue that many kids face online is that cyberbullying is still quite prevalent on social networks, according to a report from the Wichita Eagle written by Denise Groene, the state director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. While this used to be playground or classroom territory in the past, the ability of mean kids to track down and harass others online spreads to 24 hours a day with the internet, and can be extremely harmful. As such, telling kids how to handle and report this type of treatment is vital to their ongoing mental and perhaps even physical health.

Kids probably need more online security education.Kids probably need more online security education.

What else should kids know about social networks?
In addition, kids may not have the filter to know what they should and shouldn't say or do online, Groene wrote. (This is, unfortunately, also true of many adults.) Problematic posts – like those with objectionable language, photos, videos, and so on – can end up coming back to haunt them even years later, and do damage to their reputations that can cost them significant opportunities down the road.

How to keep kids protected
Of course, it falls to parents to help kids understand the threats they face online, and not just from their peers and themselves, the report said. Kids may also serve as prime targets for criminals looking to steal personal or otherwise sensitive information, particularly when it comes to phishing scams that ask them to simply turn the information over. Most children aren't going to be savvy enough to identify these potential threats of this kind, often because no one has told them what to look out for.

This is also true when it comes to kids potentially clicking on links or downloading files that contain viruses and other malware, which can then be used for things like identity theft, said Groene. For this reason, it's important for parents to not only talk to their kids about what they should and shouldn't click on, but also to make sure every device on their networks has comprehensive anti-virus, firewall, and other security software in place. That can help to ensure that even if a mistake is made by a child, the resulting damage will be as limited as possible.

Again, many adults may not know the ins and outs of cybersecurity in this regard. As such, the more they can do to educate themselves before passing any knowledge on to their kids, the better off everyone in the household is going to be in the future.