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The average daily screen use by children aged from 3 to 18 increased by 1.5 times during the pandemic, according to an analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics. Besides the negative physical and psychological impact too much screen time may have on kids, safety is another major concern for parents, guardians and educators. In the last 3 years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received more than 6,000 complaints of crimes against children. In 2021, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline received 29.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation, an increase of 35% from 2020.
What are the risks kids are facing in the digital environment and what can be done to protect them?
Source : National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline
1. What are the top risks for kids in the digital environment?
- Accessing inappropriate content (Inappropriate content: disinformation, hateful, harmful and illegal content)
- Cyber bullying (The electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person, often anonymously)
- Cyber grooming (A practice by means of which an adult ‘befriends’ a child with the intention of sexually abusing her/him)
- Downloading malware (Malware: malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system)
- Encounter with cyber predators (Cyber predator : a person who search online for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way)
- Falling for Scams (Contest and prize scams, fake freebies and deals, phony talent competitions or casting scams)
- Identity theft (The illegal use of someone else’s personal information to steal money or credit)
- Phishing (A fraudulent attempt to extract money, obtain sensitive information such as phone numbers, login credentials, or credit card details or install malware by pretending to be an entity that is trusted by the target)
- Posting Private Information (Personal identifiable information such as social security, passport, credit card numbers, home address)
- Posts that can come back to haunt a child later in life
Source: OECD — OCDE
2. What can parents do to help protect their children online?
- Be involved. Consider activities you can work on together, whether it be playing a game, researching a topic you had been talking about (e.g., family vacation spots, a particular hobby, a historical figure), or putting together a family newsletter.
- Keep lines of communication open. Let your child know that they can approach you with any questions or concerns about behaviors or problems they may have encountered on the computer.
- Establish clear rules for children to follow and warn about dangers.
- Define the types of websites or games they can access and why they are appropriate or not.
- Educate them on keeping their personal details private online.
- Encourage them not to share real names, addresses, other PII to strangers online.
- Ensure you know who your kids are communicating with online.
- Help kids understand that they should never meet up in person with someone they met online.
3. How to enable a safe internet browsing environment for kids?
- Keep computers in an open area where adults can monitor their children’s online activity.
- Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts.
- Consider implementing parental controls.
- Talk to your kids about being cautious of fake or malicious websites, potential scams and phishing.
- Make it clear that no one should click on a suspicious link or open unexpected attachments.
- Encourage your kids to use strong, unique passwords for each of their social media accounts.
- Remind them not to share their passwords with anyone — even their best friend.
4. What should parents know about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)?
It’s a US federal law that aims to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13. Parents should leverage it to protect the privacy of their children.
- Know your rights.
- Check out sites your kids visit.
- Ask questions.
- Be picky with your permission.
- Report any site that breaks the rules.
5. What resources are available to help protect kids online?
- A Parent’s Guide to Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying by Alexis Moore
- My kids are online…again!!!: Parental controls and cyber security measures for kids who have internet access by Alejandra Garcia
- Parenting in the Digital World by Clay Cranford (Cyber Safety Cop)
- Parent Alert: How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online by Will Geddes, Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams
- The Children’s Guide to Being Safe Online by Caryn Warren
- Teach Children About Cybersecurity with Help from Palo Alto Networks
- Internet Safety for Kids by Wizer — Free Security Awareness Training
- Children’s Interactive Cybersecurity Activity Kit by KnowBe4
- Online Gaming Tip Card by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Family Online Rules by MediaSmarts | HabiloMédias (Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy)
- Digital Resilience Toolkit by Internet Matters Ltd
- A safer internet for children — a parents’ guide by ESET
- Be Internet Awesome Curriculum by Google, The Net Safety Collaborative, The Internet Keep Safe Coalition
4) Games and Tools
- Interland — Be Internet Awesome by Google
- Cyber Five by ABCya.com
- Cyber Safety and Digital Parenting Tools by Savvy Cyber Kids
- Google Family Link for parents by Google
- Monitoring Tools and Parental Controls by Wizer — Free Security Awareness Training
- Protect Kids Online Podcast [PKO] by the Wisconsin Department of Justice
- Security Kid Podcast by Andrew Nathan and Allira
- Cyber bullying Podcast Series by National Crime Prevention Council
- CyberDecoded : Cybersecurity and Kids by CyberMaterial
- CyberTips for Kids by CyberMaterial
- CyberStory : The story of Alicia Kozakiewicz by CyberMaterial
- CyberReview : The Children’s Guide to Being Safe Online by Caryn Warren with Sofia C. V.
For more visit https://cybermaterial.com/kids
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