Where can online dangers for our children occur? 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 , Wednesday June 17 (today), and then next Monday June 22 and Wednesday June 24.
This is the second part of a 4 part series.
From Peter McBryde of VPNStreamer.com.au
Where these Dangers Can Occur
When you look at the areas above, there are several which can occur from the same area of the internet. Others are generally more specific but are now transforming and moving to other areas.
Phishing, for example, began using emails. However, with the changes in instant messaging apps, the way this is presented to children is very different. Even when browsing, there are plenty of pop-up ads that are linked with phishing scams.
Social media are a large playground and attract all manner of the above. Cyber Bullying being frequent in responses to posts some children make. Comments become increasingly hurtful and can encourage children to do something that can severely hurt them or damage them mentally. It comes more natural for children to make these comments because they don’t face the children who they are targeting comments against.
Piracy is on the increase, and children don’t like to miss out. Torrent sites are easy to come by but are being overtaken by the increasing numbers of streaming sites. Not only is piracy a concern, but some of these sites have ulterior motives and can lead to malware being installed. This can infect a device as easy as an infected torrent file can. Children think they are merely watching their favourite cartoon or movie, while in the background, the control of their device is being taken over.
Cyber Stalkers will take any opportunity to befriend children, while they can begin in online games, it is far more comfortable and convenient for them to use social media. In many cases, their profile is fake, and they make themselves out to be a similar age to the children they target. These online stalkers begin making out they are young and follow the same speech patterns as young children before they start digging for further information. There are many instances, they actually make themselves to be the opposite sex as the child they are targeting. This can use the physical attraction aspect, to further entice unsuspecting children into doing something which can lead to harm or embarrassment.
How to be Safe on the Internet
Without delving too much into the information, there is an overall view of how parents can help their children to be safe while on the internet.
Some of which actually comes from parents attitudes toward the internet, and how they use it.
Children are very easily influenced, so if they see parents doing something, they will think it’s okay to do the same.
Here are a few pointers on how parents can make sure something is being put into place, so the internet use for their children is as safe as possible.
Websites are straightforward to clone, and children may not be able to spot the difference. Here are ways to help safeguard websites being visited are legitimate.
- Use common sense and personal instincts.
- Check for contact details such as addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information. These can be good indicators as to the legitimacy of a website.
- Check the address of the website. Ones with misspellings and extra words can mean they are clones and you have been redirected away from the original. In some cases, you can find you are at a webpage address is nothing like the one you were supposed to be.
- Hovering the cursor over a link will show the address it leads to. If this varies from the address in the link, there is something suspicious.
- Websites which ask for you to confirm something more than you usually would. Completing passwords or other personal information often leads to malicious sites.
- Avoid sites that actively promote schemes which involve receiving money or any advance payments.
These small files are often harmless, they contain and store information between browsing sessions. Some can be used to track browsing habits which lead to targeted ads. Criminals can also use them to build up a personal profile.
- Browsers can be set to inform each time a cookie is installed. (Here’s how to delete Google history and cookies)
- You can disable or enable browsers on a site by site basis. This does depend on the browser used.
- Anti-spyware or a good antivirus can be used to scan for malicious (tracker) cookies.
- Use incognito mode when possible. Cookies will be deleted.
- Use plain text in emails rather than HTML. This prevents cookies and tracking files to be included.
Social media has plenty to talk about and comes in its own section. One of the main things to help keep safe is by keeping everything up to date.
Top 10 Internet Safety Tips for Kids
- Passwords – Both your passwords and any account id’s should be kept safe. These should never be stored on your device, and only inform your parent or guardian what they are. Never share with anyone else.
- Personal Information – All your personal information should be kept private. Never share any personal information with anyone online. This can include your address, the school you go to, or passwords. Even any government issued id numbers, or passport details should be kept off-line.
- Posting on social media – You should be careful what you post online. You may give information that you think is innocent. Almost nothing you post anywhere is 100% private. If you post in private, the person you send it to will have this and can use it to their advantage if they so wish.
- Never meet in person – There may be plenty of individuals who want to meet up. You never know who this person is, and they might not actually be who they say they are. There are a lot of bad adults who are looking to take advantage of. They might pretend to be a kid, but it can all be fake. Follow online safety rules, and if there is a person you do want to meet, make sure to take your parents, and agree to meet somewhere public.
- Bullying – If you are a victim of bullying or someone is harassing you, be sure to tell your parents as soon as it begins. Never forget, you are online so you can ignore the messages, and you have no need to answer them. Never retaliate because this is wrong and you can get in trouble. Internet safety facts show 90% of kids ignore bullying if it happens. If they can do it, so can you.
- Pictures – Be careful which photos you share, and never share them with a person you don’t know. Never show anyone pictures that are you with no clothes on, because once they are on the internet, they can’t be taken back.
- Surfing securely – When surfing, be careful of the websites you visit. Always make sure the address starts with HTTPS. This is the new standard, and if any website doesn’t show this, there is a reason they are not doing so.
- Protect your PC – When you wish to download something from the internet, you should always check with your parents. This can be one of the top safety tips because you never know what is included with your download, even if it appears to be a harmless game or movie.
- Disconnect – No matter how old you are, you have a choice. You can quickly stop your browsing session. Anything you were watching will still be there when you turn it on, but bad people or bullies may have moved on when they see you are not responding.
- Your mobile phone – You may have a cell phone. These are great for contacting parents when you are in trouble. But, they can be traced, and if you give your cell number to strangers, they can trace your location. You should follow this safety rule for kids as it is the best way to contact someone in times of trouble.
This series will resume next Monday June 22, with the third article in a four part series, on how to protect your kids from inappropriate websites…