The rise of online entertainment, educational resources and communication have also been followed by the rise of cyberbullying and other negative phenomena that can impact any person in a negative way.
Children are especially prone to becoming victims of online abuse by criminals or outright rude users of online platforms. It’s vital for parents and any concerned adults with good intentions to keep children away from harm’s way.
While education is one part of the process, there are also some excellent tools that can be employed for this purpose. For this article, we’ve selected the top 5 tools that can improve Internet security and online privacy for kids.
One of the common dangers for kids online occurs through social media and chat rooms. Children are more likely to share personal information with strangers, which can lead to blackmail, harassment and cyberbullying.
The reasons for these occurrences are numerous. The bad guys might ask for money or they could be school colleagues that are picking on a weaker person in the group for sadistic reasons. In potentially the worst case scenario it could be a pedophile looking for a naïve victim on anonymous chatrooms.
In either of these cases Nuwber can be of excellent use. It’s an online service that allows the user to track down almost anyone by knowing one piece of information about them. That could be an email address, physical address, phone number or name.
This service is used to find old relatives, learn more about one’s neighbours, find long-lost relatives etc. But if you notice your child chatting online with a stranger with ill intentions, you can check out who the person is by entering all of some of the information.
2. Social media privacy settings
This isn’t just one tool, but it’s perhaps one of the best advice for using social media safely. So many of us share our most intimate moments on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps while keeping our profile completely public. This essentially means that anyone can pry into our privacy at any moment.
With children, the dangers are obviously multiplied as they’re more vulnerable to extortion tactics. Such information can also be used by predators to track down the child by learning about where they live, where they hang out, who their friends are and other relevant info.
In order to improve online privacy, it’s advised for kids to increase privacy settings by making their online profile private. By doing so, only the people they’ve accepted as friends/followers can have access to their profile.
Perhaps this can make using social media less fun but for those who treasure Internet security that shouldn’t be a determining factor in making this decision.
3. Anti-malware software
Any Windows user would do well to have a professional anti-malware program installed on their computer. Bit Defender, Avira, AVG and Malwarebytes top the list of the most popular ones. They are available as both free and premium versions.
Free versions of antimalware software typically provide alerts in case of a virus or spyware, while also offering scanning and quarantine features at any time the user feels they are warranted. They also warn the user of any malware while downloading content from the Internet.
Premium versions often allow direct removal of any malware that is tracked down instead of merely quarantining it for the time being.
While Windows 10 has its own firewall that is frequently updated to deal with the latest threats, it doesn’t hurt to get one or two extra anti-malware programs to deal with potential threats even better.
This is a parental supervision software that allows parents to supervise online activity. Qustodio is a free app that’s accessible through Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and Kindle.
On top of mere supervision, parents can also limit their children’s online activity and use content filters to prevent them from seeing harmful content right from the start. For those who want even more control over online activity there are premium features such as:
– Extended reporting
– Youtube monitoring
– Screen time scheduling
– Social network activity monitoring
– Family locator (see where your child has been and where they are now)
– SOS button
…and many other security features.
5. Kaspersky Safe Kids
This is another highly rated app that’s similar to Qustodio but has a few different features. It provides:
– Screen time management
– Reports on public Facebook activity, including newly added friends
– Shares expert advice from child psychologists on online topics
– Includes GPS tracker with a real-time online map (similar to Qustodio) BUT it also allows you to define a safe area. If your child wanders out of the safe area it will instantly send an alert on your electronic device
– Tells you when they’re running low on battery so you can warn them to plug in
So Qustodio and Kaspersky are quite similar in their features, but with Kaspersky the user can create a more detailed security strategy for their kids online and offline activity.
But as someone who’s been a kid, please don’t go overboard or your kid will probably try to find ways to work around it or perhaps stop using it out of protest. It’s important to set healthy privacy boundaries even when we have the best intentions.
So those are the top 5 tools for kid’s Internet security and privacy. If you believe that your child has already stumbled upon some bad company online, Nuwber can definitely be useful in checking out that person’s record.
In order to prevent bad influences from placing a kid in harm’s way education is the first step. Make sure that they know the dangers looming around the corner from predators and cyber bullies. Social media and anonymous chatrooms are especially dangerous in this regard so it’s important not to share personal information or incriminating photos with any strangers.
It’s also advised to have antimalware software installed to prevent any spyware and viruses from encroaching on privacy during computer or mobile phone usage.
Lastly, if you want more control over your child’s Internet activity, using either one of the last two mentioned tools (Qustodio and Kaspersky) should put your mind at ease. Hope this helps!