Toolkit for safer cyberspace for minors

Are you worried about your child’s safety online? Here are few tips to keep your child safe digitally. Read on to follow! See here to view our previous blog post on threats to children in online environment.

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted”  – Garrison Keiller

The year 2017 saw various headlines relating to controversial online games, some of them being Sarahah, Blue whale challenge. Additionally, there was the Ransom-ware attack (Wanna cry) which affected more than 3 million computers worldwide.  These news acted as a real eye-opener for all of us specifically for parents who watch their children sitting infront of a computer, surfing web most of the time.

Let’s start this year by playing a pro-active role in your kids’ digital life rather than sitting motionless and worried. It’s not the time to unplug your child from the digital assets, but, to be prepared to handle new or even existing threats.

#TIP 1

Talk to your kids and be part of their online activities. Unless you start a conversation with them, you will never get to know what type of games they play online and its age ratings, which sites they love to explore etc. It is the simplest manual method to keep track of what your child is doing online and on her digital devices. Make sure that you are friendly enough to make them comfortable while having the conversation.

#TIP 2

Think before you click! One negligent click can destroy everything you have or share online. It takes only one click by malicious software to redirect you to a phishing page. Accept it or not, phishing is dangerous. It is no more limited to a fake Facebook page but can lead to real monetary frauds. Stop paying attention to any of the pop-ups even if it is offering you Xbox for only 500 bucks!

#TIP 3

Gadgets are smart toys for kids who have grown up in this technology-driven century. Here we have the biggest challenge! The real battle lies in the usage of these toys.  Teach them to never leave their device unattended. Children are a vulnerable and an easy target for identity theft. Every information in the device is valuable, therefore, guide them to keep it close.

#TIP 4 

It might sound funny asking you to guide your child to keep his password strong and safe, but trust me 80% of them would share their passwords unintentionally or intentionally. One poor decision can expose your private life. Let’s say, Your kid logs in his social media account from his friend’s device in your absence and forgets to log out. Isn’t his information at risk?  This is a very small example, real dangers does not come in by knocking, it just happens!

Advice:-

  • Password should be combination of upper and lower case alphabets, special character (like ‘$’) and numbers to protect them from password stealing bots.
  • Change your passwords after every 3 months.
  • “Don’t” use same password for all accounts.

#TIP 5 

As a parent, you act as a role model for your kid. They imitate what they see. Give more time to family than to social media. Stop using smart phone devices when it’s family time. Act in a way that you want your kid to follow!

#TIP 6 

Guide your child to be careful of what he posts on social media. Anything posted online, stays in the cobweb of internet. Teach them about online reputation and how to portray yourself publicly online.

Make sure that you child is not being pressurized by someone to take his photographs (Keep a check on his behavior).

It is a best practice of  “Not sharing” your personal life on internet as well as the news of which you are not sure. It is a digital responsibility of every netizen to verify facts before sharing since it can turn out to be a rumor.

#TIP 7

It is must to keep a check on the security of your kid’s device. Upgrade all the security features on the connected devices. The hour of the need is for more than basic security. One of the best practice is to set a reminder for changing the password.

Things for you to do:- 

  • Monitor your kids’ device.
  • Computer or laptop should be always in your line of sight i.e some central location of your house.
  • Keep a check on all the apps installed by him. Are they necessary?
  • To what terms and conditions he has agreed to with the apps?
  • Turn off the Bluetooth when not required.
  • Turn off the location when not required.
  • Use secured WiFi for connected devices.
  • Use secure network or VPN.

#TIP 8

Guide your kid about the risks of leaving ‘Digital Footprints’. 2017 was marked as the year of ‘misuse of user-generated content’ which is the new trend of the hackers. Think before you share! Making your personal information public and oversharing your information may lead to disasters in future.  Adjust your privacy settings to protect from various threats.

#TIP 9 

Interpret carefully what your kid is saying online. Slang used by kids’ of yesterday and today have huge differences and more offensive or abusive in nature. Until and unless the slang does not cause any harm, it is not an issue but when it has harmful meaning, it is the right time for you intervene.

Some examples:

  • Bud or you got any tree? – Marijuana
  • Pox- Opium
  • Let’s trip  or tripping – Indulged in high drugs
  • F2F- video chat
  • Blow- Cocaine
  • Zerg- To gang up (a gaming term translated to bully)

#TIP 10

Apart from the manual methods, there are software to keep a check on your child’s digital life.

Don’t completely rely on these softwares to monitor your kid. Being a good digital parent depends on how effectively you apply all manual methods to help your child in safe exploration of Internet.

Image from here.

Gurleen Kaur

Gurleen is a 5th year Techno-Legal student who aspires to build a better Cyber space for the netizen's. She is fond of researching in the field of Cyber security and loves to delve into the gap between technology and law. She is passionate about writing on diverse legal issues impacting citizens.

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