Cyber Safety Children [Video]

childrenHow do I keep my children safe online?

What the security experts tell their kids (selected readings)

Professionals from the internet security world explain the advice they give to their own offspring

How can you teach your children to use the internet safely? It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot, as the father of five and seven year-old sons who are already adept with parental tablets and laptops alike.

They know the internet is a magical entity capable of answering obscure questions; providing printable templates of pretty much any animal to colour in; and serving up endlessly-repeatable videos of startled cats, Stampy’s Minecraft exploits and loom band tutorials.

What they don’t know is anything about viruses, online privacy, phishing, social networking etiquette, and any other internet safety and/or security issue you can think of.

Teaching them about this now and in the future is my job, and the challenge of getting it right is intimidating – even for someone who writes about a lot of these issues for a living.

But then I remembered that there’s a whole industry of internet safety and security experts, many of whom have children of their own, and have to face the same task of rearing safe, responsible internet citizens.

The advice that these people are giving their own kids should be top-drawer, so what is it? I put a call out, and was overwhelmed by responses. Here are edited versions of 21 of the most useful.

‘Start discussing online safety at an early age’

David Emm, senior security researcher at internet security company Kaspersky Lab

“I think one of the key things is to start the process of discussing online safety with your children at an early age, when they start to do anything that involves the Internet. As they get older and begin to do things independently, widen the circle. For example, if you let them start an account with Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters, help them create a sensible password and explain why they should use different passwords for each account and the possible consequences of not doing so.”

‘If you wouldn’t do it face to face – Don’t do it online’

Shelagh McManus, online safety advocate for security software Norton by Symantec

“The advice I give my own family and friends is encapsulated in: “If you wouldn’t do it face to face – Don’t do it online” For example, would you go up to a complete stranger and start a conversation? Would you be abusive to friends or strangers in a pub or bar? Just because you feel protected by the apparent distance a screen gives between you and the person you’re talking to, you must remember that online is still the real world.  Mid to late teens need to remember that everything they do over the web is captured forever and could come back to haunt them. Many employers and university admissions offices look at social media profiles when researching candidates.

My husband and I actually used to ask random questions based on what the younger family members had put online just to remind them that they should lock down their profiles! If they didn’t want their dad, uncles and aunts or future employers asking about exactly what was in that fifteenth drink on Saturday night, they needed to check their privacy settings!”

‘At least I don’t feel like a spy…’

Paul Vlissidis, technical director at cyber security firm NCC Group

“My view is very non-PC I’m afraid (no pun intended). I have no filtering of any kind on my kids internet, no snooping and no time limits. I have of course spoken to each of them about the perils of the internet and they know that it’s an unsafe place unless they stay on the mainstream sites. They do have AV [antivirus software] and I do scan their machines regularly for malware and ensure they remain fully patched but that’s it. Basically I trust them. They have approached me several times where something odd has happened or where they had concerns (one Google search my daughter did for Barbie and Ken certainly produced some interesting results I recall). Of course they may yet turn out to be axe murderers, but only time will tell and at least I don’t feel like a spy.”

‘Teach them to beware of strangers bearing gifts’

Amichai Shulman, CTO of network security firm Imperva

“Being a parent (four children), paranoid and a vendor I can shed some light on this. My basic belief is that adults have proven once and again vulnerable to cyber attacks and therefore we cannot expect children to be any better – especially given that their sense of curiosity is far more developed and their sense of caution far less mature. I do not expect my children to behave online much different than in the real world and therefore I explain to them about hackers being a type of criminal that breaks into your house through the computer rather than through the window. It’s easy for them to understand it. I also teach them to beware of strangers bearing gifts much like they should in the physical world. For example, I don’t allow my children to open a mail package if they don’t KNOW who sent it (or got my permission to do so) – much the same way, I don’t allow them to open unsolicited email attachments. Could they fall prey to someone who took over their friend’s account and sent out malware? Yes, but so would most adults. Could they fall prey to a targeted attack on our family? They probably will – like almost all adults.”

‘Once you’ve written something you can’t delete it’

David Robinson, chief security officer at Fujitsu UK & Ireland

“The Internet is a fantastic place, but you have to be careful what you do and say when you are there. Don’t say things which you wouldn’t talk about in conversations with your family, think about what you do and say, you may well regret what you do by hurting someone or being hurt yourself. Remember once you’ve written something you can’t delete it, despite what Google are doing in Europe, the right to be forgotten doesn’t apply everywhere! If what you do or say is controversial it will be copied many times and will always come back and bite you, even in later life when you apply to go to college, university or even a job. How you connect is important too, the gadgets you use, smart phones, tablets even old fashioned computers all need to be protected as well. But that’s only one part of it, those applications and services you use need to be protected, you don’t want others seeing your information. Use sensible passwords and protection, it’s a little price to pay for the security of your information and intimate details.  Don’t be frightened to ask for help either, there’s lots of places and people who can show you what to do and how to behave such as Get Safe On-line, friends and teachers.”

‘Never, under any circumstances, browse unaccompanied’

Dave King, chief executive of online reputation management company Digitalis

‘Try and be vigilant and monitor what you can’

Chase Cunningham, lead threat intelligence agent for cloud security company Firehost – and creator of educational comic The Cynja

‘Educate early and often’

Samantha Humphries-Swift, product manager at cybersecurity firm McAfee Labs

“Get involved – I speak with my daughter regularly about which sites she is using, and given her age, I personally vet all app downloads. This way, I can keep an eye on security settings and make a judgement on whether I think it’s safe and appropriate for her to use.  Educate early and often – I warned my daughter about the dangers of the internet as soon as she started browsing, and remind her of safe online behaviour regularly – don’t accept friendship requests from people you don’t know, verify requests if they look to be coming from someone you do know, never agree to a private chat with a stranger, never post your mobile phone number or home address online for all to see. Communication is key – I like to be open, approachable and understanding about what my daughter is getting up to online. This way it makes it easier for her to come to me with any problems she’s experiencing online, and she’s happy to ask for advice. On a more general note, talk to your kids about how they use their computers and smartphones and ask about any concerns they might have. Be prepared to field any questions they may ask – there are plenty of online resources available to help support you in answering tough and delicate questions.”

‘Not just to tell them the rules but also to spend the time’

Jesper Kråkhede, senior information security consultant at IT security company Sentor

‘Become friends and contacts in your child’s social media’

Tracy Hulver, senior identity specialist for telco firm Verizon

“Make sure your children ONLY message and accept friend and contact requests from people they know.

Imagine a responsible adult standing behind them’

Kevin Gourlay, head of technical assurance at Platinum Squared, and head of the (ISC)2 Safe and Secure Online cybersafety initiative

‘It’s about them understanding simple safety rules’

Lucy Woodward, director at Disney’s Club Penguin virtual world for children

‘Just apply standards you adopt offline to the online world’

Sue Gold, partner, data privacy team at law firm Osborne Clarke

‘Anything that is put online should assumed to be permanent’

Chris Hoff, vice president, strategic planning, security, Juniper Networks

‘Get them involved when installing patches’

Neil Thacker, information security and strategy officer at cybersecurity company Websense

‘A few simple steps will help keep data secure’

Deema Freij, senior vice president EMEA & APAC at technology company Intralinks

‘Learn about something yourself if you don’t know’

François Amigorena, chief executive of software firm IS Decisions

“The first rule I have for how I approach online security with them is to educate, educate, educate. Do not rely on anyone else to tell them what they should be doing, and often educate means learning yourself. Take the time to learn about something yourself if you don’t know. Also when educating children it’s good to use material or images, like web comics to get the point across as that way they’re more likely to listen.

It’s worth remembering that some authority figures, even those at school, might give out of date or misinformed advice. So it’s always good to keep talking about these things with the kids and correct when necessary. For example a school figure from the library informed my children that all .org domains are safe. Which was once the case as it was created for non profits, but now they can be registered by anyone; just put any rude word in between ‘www.’ and ‘.org’.

Don’t hand over any internet connected device before you know yourself how it works. I have known other parents who weren’t aware that an iPod can connect to the internet, and gave it to their 10 year old son who then managed to share a video of their neighbour’s daughter in a bikini online. The neighbours were quite rightly upset!”

‘Boundaries also bring freedom’

Ben Densham, CTO of cybersecurity testing company Nettitude

‘We talk about anything and everything’

Mark Gibson, sales director at web filtering firm Bloxx

“I have two kids aged 11 and 14. How they interact with the Web and via what channels is constantly changing. One month they are all playing a game and using the in-message capabilities, the next they are back to using Facebook. Their interaction with the internet is dynamic and ever changing. They are also incredibly tech savvy, so whilst I do have filtering technology in place, anything else would – in all reality – be counter intuitive. My son would only see it as a challenge. So with this in mind, I have purposefully made sure that my kids and I have a very open relationship and we talk about anything and everything. This means that when they see sexual content on the web, which is inevitable, that rather than wondering about what it all means, we talk about it. The rights and the wrongs, what it all means etc. By talking openly with them it quickly becomes clear what behaviour is appropriate and what is not. It also gives them the opportunity to raise anything that they find troubling.”

‘Staying safe now goes beyond the old computer security issues’

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist, Bitdefender

“Parents and children rarely have time to truly communicate. So, first of all, parents should talk to their kids about potential problems that may occur when using the internet.  A thorough look at each and every one of these issues – including cyber-bullying, Facebook depression, sexting, paedophiles, scammers and exposure to inappropriate content – should give the child an idea of what internet dangers are all about. Backing up the list of e-threats with real examples from their school or group of friends could also draw a comprehensive picture. Parents should know that staying safe on the internet now goes beyond the old computer security issues. Our recent studies show that parents now buy smartphones for their children when they are as young as 5 years old. The early use of both smartphones and tablets is boosting the risk of malware infections and SMS fraud, which make many victims among users who are still only learning to read.”

‘Follow the same rules you would follow in the real world’


Darren Anstee, director of solutions architects at network security company Arbor Networks

“Follow the same rules you would follow in the real world. If you aren’t sure about something or someone ask your parents or another responsible adult and if anything ‘unusual’ happens when you are using your computer tell your parents.  If any of your friends tell you how to get around the content filters and application installation barriers we have put in place – don’t do it, just come and talk to me about what you need; I was young once too, I think. I am a bit like Santa – I can always tell whether you have been good or bad on the Internet, but with much better incident response and forensics.”

Since you’re here …

We’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever, but far fewer are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Source: The Guradian

Your child’s online activity is your business | Editorial

THE internet allows us to access infinite information from anywhere, anytime.

But for all its draw cards, there lies a dark reality.

The internet can be a dangerous place for anyone – but particularly for children who can be impressionable, naive and vulnerable players navigating their way through the cyber world.

There are cases of online trolls and bullies, fraud, identity theft and even child pornography being reported right across mainstream media.

The internet is so accessible that kids are getting sucked into its around-the-clock immediacy.

The internet all too easily allows people to pose as someone or something they’re not.

Just as easily as it takes someone to create a false persona with the click of a button, can it take to lull someone into a false sense of security and fall victim to the perils of the cyber world.

Impressionable kids and teens, who can spend the lion’s share of their time behind a screen on the internet, are increasingly caught up with dangerous online crazes.

A ‘game’ that involves children choking themselves and posting results online tragically resulted in the death of a 13-year-old Brisbane boy on December 30.

The most recent online craze is seeing kids put salt and ice on their skin and recording how long they can withstand the burning. It has sadly seen some children hospitalised.

These are just two example of the dangers and power of the internet.

That is why awareness and education is more important than ever.

As a parent, you need to make your child’s online activity your business.

The internet is a staple in most of our lives and cannot be taken for granted. We rely on it for everything from running businesses to accessing information in real time.

But we must learn how to harness its benefits while mitigating its risks.

Source: Northern Daily Reader

Thanks TheGuardian, Northern Daily Reader, and for reading Cyber Safety Children

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Dr Don
Founder/Admin The Internet Crime Fighters Org, Author The Internet Users Handbook, See more
Dr Don
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