David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, in light of the latest news which revealed that the number of children who believe everything they read online has significantly increased.
Ofcom has released new research which has shown that the number of children who believe everything they read on web pages and in social media has doubled, indicating that we are raising a generation of ‘digital natives’ who are too trusting of what they find online. At the same time, new research from Kaspersky Lab has revealed that there is also a communication breakdown between children and their parents, with only a fifth believing that they can they talk freely with them about their activities on the web. This only highlights the importance of protecting our children from online dangers.
It is imperative that our children feel they can talk to us about what they are seeing or experiencing on the internet, especially if they are starting to believe that everything they read is true. Our research also indicates a discrepancy when it comes to helping children stay safe online today, with 60 per cent of children surveyed admitting they look to their parents for guidance, despite the fact that parents don’t feel in control of protecting their children on the internet. With the dangers clearly growing, it’s imperative that parents talk openly about the risks with their children as soon as they start interacting online – which may be younger than they think. This will ensure that the issue is addressed before it becomes a problem and will help to enable parents, and children, to stay one step ahead of the cyber-bullies and other online dangers.
Here’s our list of top tips for keeping your children safe online.
- Talk to them about the potential dangers.
- Encourage them to talk to you about their online experiences and, in particular, anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
- Set clear ground-rules about what they can and can’t do online and explain why you have put them in place. You should review these as your child gets older.
- Use parental control software to establish the framework for what’s acceptable – how much time (and when) they can spend online, what content should be blocked, what types of activity should be blocked (chat rooms, forums, etc.). Parental control filters can be configured for different computer profiles, allowing you to customise the filters for different children.
- Protect computers using Internet security software.
- Apply security updates for your operating system and applications as soon as they become available.
- Don’t forget their smartphone – these are sophisticated computers, not just phones. Most smartphones come with parental controls and security software providers may offer apps to filter out inappropriate content, senders of nuisance SMS messages, etc.