The BlueWhale challenge has been an eye-opener for parents across the world. It has revealed another ugly side of the internet connected world. Easy manipulation of vulnerable children and teenagers by unknown people. This has now become an additional online safety concern for parents along with online pedophiles, cyberbullying, cyberstalking and internet-trolling.
Dealing with proliferation of internet connected devices and their easy access to children is another issue. This makes it difficult to monitor their internet activity and put proper controls. Today, three year olds can operate a smartphone like an expert. Availability and access to the internet at a young age increases their dependence on the internet. This may lead to unwanted consequences, without proper guidance.
Here are few resources that will aid parents in keeping their children safe in cyber space:
21 Tips from The Guardian
One of the contributing editors to Guardian Technology spoke with various security professionals. He wanted to know the measures they are taking to keep their children safe on the internet. A total of twenty-one security professionals shared their tips and methods. Read the full article for detailed responses. Following are few tips that most professionals recommended.
- Talk to children about online safety at an early age
- Teach them to using sensible passwords and PIN
- Set their mobile devices to forget wifi and place their PC in a common area
- Help them understand that things written on the internet are permanent
- Use creative ways, such as cartoons, to help them understand risks of using the internet
- Educate them on being wary of strangers in the online world as well
Safely play online games
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based children charity, has written on child safety when playing online games. Their work explains the risks associated with online gaming. It also lists measures that parents can take to ensure their child’s safety. They’ve also covered the criteria to select appropriate games for kids. Visit their website for detailed tips. Below is the summary of risks and measures they’ve listed.:
- Children may view inappropriate or upsetting content if they play games that aren’t suitable for their age.
- Some players can be abusive towards others or try to exclude them from the game.
- Children may play with adults they don’t know.
- Some children may find it hard to stop playing games or find that gaming is getting the way of them doing other activities.
- Tips to keep children safe:
- Check the game’s content
- Know how to mute, block and report
- Be share aware
- Activate safety settings
- Keep the conversation going
Videos for online safety
There are many good videos available talking on the subject. Following are play-lists of few such videos I came across while searching on online child safety:
Online Safety Tips for Parents
Say no to cyberbullying
General Online Safety Tips
Children have an impressionable mind. Anything they encounter over the internet can influence their mind. Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure that they are safe while navigating through the cyber space.
Did you find these resources useful? Do you have any additional resources and tips on child online safety? Share with us in comments.
Uday Mittal is a cybersecurity professional with rich working experience working with various industries including telecom, publishing, consulting and finance. He holds internationally recognized certifications such as CRTP, OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, CISM, CRISC among others. He speaks on cybersecurity awareness, offensive security research etc. and has authored various articles on topics related to cyber security and software development for a leading magazine on open source software.