After the expose on the privacy issues in Facebook, which has seen Facebook cutting off some of their third-party app revenue sources, parents are once again, extremely concerned with their children's safety.
Apart from the obvious concerns regarding access to pornography and vulnerability to child predators, parents have to be particularly concerned about children revealing details about themselves which make the household vulnerable on social media or private emails. This coupled with the fear surrounding children mistakenly downloading malware to a shared home computer or cell phone is a frightening reality for parents everywhere.
Apart from turning your kids away from technology which we all know isn’t really an option in 2018, unless you live in an Amish community, monitoring your children online must be an essential part of your everyday reality.
[Cyberhub Summit Coming to Austin, Tx | May 3, 2018 - Cyber Security education for executives and business owners, Exclusive Dinner and Powerful Networking. | Get the latest from Cyberhub Summit by signing up for their newsletters. ]
Fear not, there is help here.
Here are our top five tips on how to keep your kids safe online:
- Increase Your Knowledge.
Have some basic knowledge about the social media sites they are on. Facebook for example, has a policy of being for over 13-year old's, yet this is controlled simply by asking a potential Facebook user if they are above thirteen. Check the Social media your child uses and the lower age limit that they set their users at.
- Check Privacy Settings.
The Privacy settings on your internet browser and all social media sites should be at the highest level. That means preventing, third-parties or cookies from storing or using data.
You should also be regularly looking through the history of sites visited, to see when, where and how frequently your children have been visiting. Many parents have chosen to block YouTube and other sites which are open to various types of video postings that you may think inappropriate for your children's eyes.
- Secure Your Router.
There are types of routers that can keep a record of sites that are accessed from your home, so even if the history is cleared on the software, it's still there.
To set up this type of tracking, you need to access your router by typing the IP address into your browser. You can find out the IP address by opening a command window (run CMD.exe in Windows) and typing "ipconfig/all." It's the number listed under the heading “Default Gateway.”
The router may require a password and if you don't remember setting one, that's probably because you didn’t. You can find the default password on the Manufacturer's website or on the box that it came in, if you were clever enough to keep it somewhere. Chances are you didn't because you have children and they have probably used the box in a long-forgotten art project.
Once the router is reached, click on “Logs” to view the activity on your network. Routers allow you to set up a list for blocked sites that can’t be accessed from your child’s computer.
Once you have set this up, change the password to stop a clever little millennial from altering the settings.
4. Use Antivirus Software.
Antivirus software is good for you and good for your children's safety, it's vital in keeping computers safe and stops your children from running in avertedly into unwanted sites. The inbuilt anti-virus software on your computer, to put it simply, isn't good enough.
- Install Other Software.
Install software to monitor their usage. It does it more effectively than you can and saves you the hassle. Lots of these programs also have access to a variety of tools that you simply don't have.
Look at Safetyweb.com, which focuses on social media sites. It sends alerts to parents when it detects explicit content in messages and it also is set up to track signs of cyberbullying.
Another great software is Socialshield.com, which monitors the social media accounts for signs of suspicious individuals trying to contact your children. This checks your child's contacts against a selection of databases and sends you an alert if a dangerous or fraudulent person tries to contact your child.
In short, you can take steps without standing over your children as they use the computer, be aware and be a part of the solution.