-Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP – AE Works Security Risk Manager
Safer internet day was this week, a world-wide recognized day to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for everyone, especially kids and teens.
Hundreds of articles about keeping kids safe online are available. I think the below articles share some helpful tips on how to talk with your kids about safe internet use. This post is a summary of my thoughts after reading these articles:
I highly recommend reading each and forming your own picture of online threats, which will hopefully lead to you making decisions based on your own specific situation. Some people don’t have time so the following considerations should be applicable in many different situations.
While in the magazine section of a bookstore, have you noticed that the children’s section, news and popular consumer titles are located in the middle to bottom of the rack while adult material is placed higher up and likely behind some kind of cover? Ever notice that a hardware store asks for proof of age before selling folding utility knives? And at events serving alcohol, have you seen the use of brightly colored wristbands for those who have proven they are of age?
All of these are safeguards we as a society have placed in the physical world to safeguard children. These safeguards simply do not exist in the virtual world. Adult content is available to anyone. Information regarding all sorts of dangerous behavior is available from questionable home remedies to explosive making and absurdities like the Tide Pod challenge. Very little of this content is controlled.
Your child knows better than to talk to strangers in the physical world, but what about online? Is someone with a profile picture a stranger? Look at it a different way – would you let your child sit in their room unsupervised with someone you’ve never met? Of course not. Well, if you’re not monitoring their internet use, this can happen virtually.
Would you teach your child sword swallowing or fire breathing? If you are not monitoring your child’s internet use, he/ she might be trying to pick up such a skill from youtube videos.
There are many easily configurable security settings you can use to keep young children from the worst of the internet (see the links above), but as they age, they will learn how to circumnavigate these settings. Do not rely on technology alone; communicate with your child and extend your parenting influence to online activities. Open communication is especially important as your child grows and becomes a potential victim of cyberbullying. And you might be part of the problem. Those pictures you posted of the time the kids dressed up in ridiculous outfits and made funny faces might have been good for a laugh among your close friends. And little Petey looked so cute when Grandma dressed him up as an elf. If those pictures are still around when your child enters adolescence, you might be setting your child up to be a victim. Kids are cruel, but the internet is ruthless. So review your content, as well as your family’s content. Do so frequently. Do so with your kid.
Stay tuned for more helpful info in future blog posts from AE Works’ Security Risk Manager!
For more information on AE Works’ Security Risk Management services and to see how we can help assess your facility vulnerabilities and protect what’s important: https://ae-works.com/what/security-risk-management/
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