Aug 02 2017

How Do We Protect Kids Online?

Top 5 Layered Defenses Parents and Small Schools Can Use to Protect Kids Online

Recently we were featured on NBC for a story @KeithJones did on new online games and apps kids are using that puts them at risk. To further the flow of information, we also provide the following.

At Layer 8 Security, our clients are other businesses to which we preach that a layered defense is the best method to either stop or minimize the damage from a cybersecurity breach. Families and small schools can take the same approach when reducing the chance that children can be exploited through online activities.

Kids will find a way to use social media whether or not their parents embrace it. Social media is a part of our home, work and school life, so it’s better to embrace the change and practice a good level of cyber awareness that sets them up for success now and later in life.

The Top 5

  1. Have a Conversation

The intangible we can control is the spirit of right and wrong for proper behavior online. This can only be taught with a conversation. Talk with kids to let them know your expectations, and the potential consequences of misbehaving. Pro-tip; have this be a continual dialogue over the years.

  1. Be Around to Supervise

Lincoln called it “leadership by walking around.” The point is, kids shouldn’t just be told the rules and set loose with no supervision. In addition to the rules and technical controls that can be put in place, they should have an expectation of no privacy when using websites, apps, email, etc.

  1. Account Privacy Settings

Most social media platforms and game sites are set by default to allow everyone to see your profile/ activity. Go to your account privacy settings to ensure that only your friends can see your profile and activity.

  1. Disable Real-time Geo-location

There is almost never a need to have a software program know your location, short of using a GPS or weather app. Parents do not want kids to broadcast their location because of the chance that a stalker or trafficking group has a kidnapping agenda.

  1. Install Monitoring/ Spyware

Parents and schools can install monitoring or spyware on children’s devices. Each parent needs to decide whether or not they want to tell their child that the device has this added safety feature; choosing not to inform a child may lead to a “trust” issue down the line. As the parent of a minor, this ethical decision is yours. Either way, kids today should not have an expectation of privacy, and there are several software tools today that allow a parent or school to monitor all the computer activity, whether online or not.

We published a short white paper on cyber safety for families which can also be found here.