Guest Post – Internet Safety for Kids (A Parent’s Guide) Part 1

What dangers exist online?  Keeping our kids safe and secure on the Internet has always been a challenge, but the difficulty has only increased because of the pandemic and our new normal of Safe At Home, Work From Home, and remote schooling.  Our kids are online more than ever.  As parents, we need to be aware of the dangers and diligent about protecting our kids

This excellent four part series of articles covers the topic of Internet Safety for Kids in depth.  We will be publishing these articles over the next two weeks, on Monday June 15 (today), Wednesday June 17, and then next Monday June 22 and Wednesday June 24.

From Peter McBryde of

There is no question, the internet makes lives more accessible and a lot more comfortable. It is at the core of the daily business, and it is a significant part of home life. This is especially true when it comes to children and the internet.  They find it their biggest pastime, from playing games, watching movies and chatting with friends on social media.

When children are a little older, they do begin to understand some of the dangers, but younger children have no idea as they think everything is real and innocent.  Internet safety for children is vital as there are countless threats from every angle.

Because there will never be a slowdown in the use of the internet, it means these threats will always be on the increase.  Parents need to spend more time to fully understand the risks, and then they will have a grasp on what it means when they say they are ‘protecting my children’ while they are using the internet.  The following will run through all parents need to know of where the risks are and what steps they can take to help minimize these risks.

What Dangers Exist Online?


Kids are often stalked by sexual predators as they use the internet. They take advantage of children’s innocence and abuse their trust. In worse case scenarios, they attempt to lure them into personal encounters that can be highly dangerous and have dramatic consequences.

These online predators often hang around on social media platforms and game sites which are appealing to young children. It is here, they can exploit children’s innocence, but also their imagination.

Predators use the same games children play with their friends, as a way of building up trust before they move on to the next phase of their actions.

Cyber Bullying

Reports show that around 30% of children have been victims of Cyber Bullying. It is these platforms and gaming sites that have become virtual playgrounds where all manner of taunting occurs. [Source]

Mocking takes place in social media, and this isn’t always between children who know each other. It reaches far beyond and includes casual observers who make snipes at posts of others.

In gaming, characters are often attacked, and what was once a fun adventure quickly spirals downward into a never-ending barrage of personal abuse.


This can be seen as one of the significant dangers that face children of all ages. All across the internet, it is easy for children to find indecent content.

This sexually explicit content is there for the masses of people who enjoy looking at it, and it can easily be linked to things that bear no relation. Even on YouTube with all their efforts, there is still explicit content.

On other occasions, this ties in with Cyber Stalkers who target young children. They purposely make links of this material that will end up on a child’s screen.

Nowadays, the age that children are becoming exposed to the content of this nature is now eight years old. At this age, their minds are still in the development stages, and they are trying to understand their beliefs and core values.

There are two sides to this occurrence, and the first being, children turn to these channels to answer any questions they have about sex, and what they see isn’t how things are supposed to be, and second, what they perceive as right or wrong becomes convoluted.


This software becomes installed on a device without the user being aware. Young children may download something which appears innocent, but in reality, the program that runs in the background can have severe consequences.

All manner of things can happen from malware, and in many cases, this can include the gathering of personal information regarding account passwords. Be it for social media, or if the device is used by adults, then it can reveal banking details.

Some systems are also taken over, and they become a ‘botnet’ where they are used to send out spam or something worse. When this happens, countless infected computers are being used. This increases the amount of spam, and also helps hide the originator’s identity.


While many of these phishing scams include someone asking for help, and in return, they will be gifted with huge amounts of money. This doesn’t wash with young children because they don’t really understand it.

But, there are instances where the false competitions are hosted, here they can win free online access to games, or there is the promise of some other form of prize. Children understand this, and any chance to win has them hooked.

Children can be coaxed into handing over parents details without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. They can also easily pass over their friend’s information with the lure of gaining something for nothing. On occasion, kids have been known to enter credit card details without knowing what they are doing.


Social boundaries will not be fully understood by young children. It is easy for them to post things to the online public, which in fact could be highly sensitive information.

In the worst case scenario, this can lead to identity theft which can be used for all manner of things by the wrong person.

All manner of things they post can have a reaction, in some instances, this leads to Cyber Bullying outbursts, or they post they are away on vacation.

Anyone who may make use of this information may quickly find the child’s address, and they then know the home is going to be empty.

Photos that should be personal, or awkward ones can mean much more to other people online than it does to the child posting them. This scenario often happens when a child’s social media profile is set to the public rather than private.


The internet is full of content that can be streamed. Young children are attracted to TV shows and movies that are easily accessible for free. They have no way of knowing that a significant amount of these is copyrighted.

With regular access to these streams, children can land parents in trouble if there is any governing agency who wants to proceed with prosecution. In more significant ways, children can easily download torrents and share these.

The downloading and uploading of this content means they are partaking in ‘Piracy’ and the more it happens, the more the weight of the law comes down on anyone who takes part in it.

Online Dares and Challenges

These spring up all the time and quickly become a trending thing to take part in. Children face peer pressure by not taking part, and there are many of these dares that lead to risky behaviors. What begins as a silly stunt can quickly transpire into something more serious.

Some children have become severely injured by what appears to be a harmless prank. One good example being the duct tape challenge. Seeing how long it takes to escape resulted in a head trauma for one unfortunate child.

There is now an increasing number of children who are getting burnt as they take part in these reckless challenges.

On Wednesday, I will continue with the second article in this series, about where these online dangers can occur.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at
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