My online world as a teenager was limited to scouring Star Trek message boards and anime chat rooms seeking individuals my age to talk to about my very specialized hobbies. My parents let me use the internet at my leisure, but I didn’t go too far. My primary use of internet tools was for schooling, and the majority of my chat communications came from classmates. My parents did a poor job of keeping track on my online activities. I recall my father cautioning me against accepting file transfers from strangers, but other than that, I was free to explore as I pleased.
The online landscape of today is vastly different from that of the early 2000s. Along with the prevalence of porn and predators in online social spaces, there’s also a lot of additional destructive behavior hiding just beneath the surface, in the shape of criminal schemes geared directly at minors. Installing invasive parental control software on their gadgets to block porn sites isn’t the only way to teach youngsters how to use the internet responsibly. Social engineering can be used by cunning criminals to get beyond parental control restrictions and entice children into their traps.
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Children’s Online Risks
Crimes against children soared by 144 percent in 2020, according to a recent FBI Internet Crime Center report. Furthermore, the FBI received nearly 10,000 reports of internet crimes targeting children between 2015 and 2020, totaling more than $2 million in financial losses. In a separate survey, cybersecurity firm Surfshark discovered that 6 out of 10 youngsters aged 8 to 12 are exposed to cyber threats online. Educating youngsters about the perils of cyber threats, according to the same report, is an effective method to prevent some of the risks.
Threats from Social Engineering
Povilas Junas, a research manager at Surfshark (we tested the company’s VPN software, Surfshark VPN), and I recently talked about some of the special threats that children face online, as well as the role of cybersecurity education in making the internet a better place for everyone. Junas believes it is critical to teach children how to recognize social engineering plans. “Kids can be a little more innocent and vulnerable to pressure,” says the author “he stated “Assume you posed as a police officer on the internet. You might be able to persuade a child to reveal important details about themselves or their parents.”
Cybercriminals mimic whomever they want online to get money or important personal information for the purposes of identity fraud, and kids, especially younger ones, may fall for the ploy, similar to online dating scams. Adults must make it obvious that not everyone online is who they claim they are, and children must approach all exchanges with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Keeping Yourself Safe in and Out of the Game
Criminal tactics aimed against youngsters abound in the internet gaming industry. “There are in-game purchases,” Junas explained. Children are accustomed to exchanging products and services for money, but they may be unable to distinguish between official and black-market vendors.”
Teach your child how and when to use your credit card online if you trust them with it. Encourage children to only buy games from authorized retailers and to avoid anyone who asks them to pay for gaming goods or services via chat or social media platforms. Phishing links can be used by scammers to trick minors into giving up personal information or money via in-game chat or SMS messaging. Teach your child not to open links from strangers and to use voice chat to confirm unexpected links from friends.
Make sure your kids are aware that familiar web addresses should be examined carefully. Fraudsters create websites that resemble large game retail or social media sites, but with minor spelling variations. If you’re a BTS fan, for example, you can go to Weverse.co to keep up with the band’s activities. The more common.com variant of that domain used to redirect to an explicit sex cam site until recently.
How to Talk to Your Children About Internet Safety
There are numerous internet resources available to assist you in talking to your children about cybersecurity. Links to numerous programs for children, caregivers, and educators can be found at the Center for Internet Security. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the US government also publishes a variety of instructions and tips for parents and teachers who wish to help their children be safe online.
Junas advised me that it’s critical to establish an open channel of communication with youngsters about their internet activity in addition to introducing them to cybersecurity instructional resources. “It’s all about trust,” he explained. Basically, children must have faith in the people in their lives so that they can come to them with their concerns about difficult situations in which they are unsure of how to respond or react.”
Junas went on to add that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting or online safety education for children. You must personalize your message for each youngster and keep aware of their requirements. “You can talk about basic topics and use a little more control when you start with six-year-olds,” says the author “he stated “You have a computer in a communal area where you can keep an eye on what’s going on. Perhaps you should allow them greater freedom as they get older.”
Using parental control applications is a simple method to filter explicit content online. If the prospect of paying for third-party parental control software to be installed on your child’s computer or mobile device scares you, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have free parental control settings built right into their platforms. However, parental control software can only protect children online to a certain extent. In the long run, teaching children about phishing scams, scammers, and social engineering techniques can save everyone a lot of time and money.