Juvenile Cyber Security

Covid 19 continues to change the modus operandi of everything that we know globally.  Many schools now have a requirement that children as young as 7 years old, need to have their own personal email addresses to access school websites. Options given to parents include family emails ….or fraudulently inserting their children’s age as older than 16 to confirm their email address (please don’t do this!!!). It may not become apparent to some parents, that the simple act of creating an email for their child now affords that child the opportunity to enter thousands of websites that would have previously been unaccessible.

In the case of teenagers, who would already have this access, many negative websites that were previously requiring payment for subscriptions are now absolutely free. In addition, internet parties are now the rave, however, these parties reveal your location through your IP address to the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people present at the party. While we are trying to make our children as comfortable as possible in the very anxious time of Covid-19, we have the added anxiety of Cyber Security. 

 We should never fear the internet though, it is a remarkable place where knowledge can be obtained. The Internet can be wonderful for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. But online access also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyber-bullying and online predators.

At TSZ, we would like to assist in the navigation of these changing times and offer some tips to aid in the juvenile use of the internet.

Tips for parents:

  •  Spend time with them online

Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family and you. Spend time with your child to identify age appropriate apps, games and other online entertainment.

  • Advise that children be cautious when opening emails and ads from unknown sources

Promote and monitor good behavior online. As children spend more time online, they can be exposed to more advertising that may promote age-inappropriate material. Help them recognize online ads and use the opportunity to explore together what is wrong with some of the negative messaging you see

  • Monitor websites that your children visit by checking their browser history often and be aware of any new subscriptions or groups that they sign up for

Have an honest dialogue with your children about who they communicate with and how. Work with your child to establish rules on how, when and where devices can be used.

  • Download software protection on all devices (computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc), update firmware and software regularly

Check that your child’s device is running the latest software and antivirus programs, and that privacy settings are on. Keep webcams covered when not in use. For younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help keep online experiences positive.

  • Maintain a cut-off time for internet browsing and social media activity.
  • Where possible, link your child’s email account to your account.

You can use some parental apps to help monitor children’s online activity. Here are some suggestions for parental control software apps: 

1. Qustodio: A full suite of parental control tools to keep your kids safe online

2. OpenDNS FamilyShield: Block domains on your whole home network at router level

3. KidLogger: Detailed activity logging, including apps used and keystrokes

4. Spyrix Free Keylogger: Find out what your kids are typing, and if they might be in trouble

5. Kaspersky Safe Kids: Parental control software for all devices