Safeguard Your Children from the Harms of the Internet

Coronavirus has called for the world to shut down and has made all of us stay at home for months now. Consequently, it has led to an increase in the usage of the internet, especially by children.

Cyber security is imperative to maintain during the lockdown.

With the educational institutions being shut down due to the uncalled pandemic, children are spending more time on the internet and the risk of online predators and hackers targeting them has spiked.

In this digital era, the most concerning issue of parents is their child spending a lot of time on the internet. This also brings in the question of Internet safety. Are children safe online?

The lectures are being conducted online by the educational institutions amid the pandemic which has increased the usage of the internet more than ever. It is gravely concerning for the parents if their children are safe or not. And they know, for a fact, that they are easy targets for online predators.

The India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) recently claimed that an alarming rise in the demand for child pornography material (or Child Sexual Abuse Material) has been seen ever since the COVID-19 induced lockdown was came into force.

The Internet is not only a safety concern for children but also for everyone else using it. It is a place where one can get an immense amount of knowledge but stepping out of the boundaries could get one in a great deal of trouble. People can be exposed to hacking, cyber bullying, explicit and violent content, etc. Predators pose as minors and enter chat rooms and video games to get in contact with children. They extort information from the children or expose them to sexually or violently explicit content. These are some ways how these bad elements make their way into society and manipulate the vulnerable, children being the easier target.

Amit Sahu, a senior cyber security consultant provides some tips to follow regarding this issue.

• Teachers should practice network monitoring and check the restrictions of who could join their classrooms. Remove any third-party source immediately.

• Students and parents should make sure the link they are getting from their organization is legitimate. A hacker could send a mail from the organization’s name but have his email id at the back.

• Wait for your organization to confirm they have sent a link. It could be sent by an attacker too who’s targeting huge crowd to gather information. This is called social engineering.

• Scan the attachments to the mails you are getting. Check them for viruses or malware so that your system doesn’t get infected.

• Many post photos and videos of their online classes these days but they should understand it would be enough to gain information from the URL link. Don’t put too much of data out there and don’t expose yourself too much.

• Make sure you don’t give remote access of your device to anyone else. It means that anyone can take control of your device through an application called Anydesk.

• There’s a thing called naming conventions where a hacker would change the name of a link slightly to fool you. For example, the letter ‘o’ in zoom would be replaced by zero, or an unsafe URL would be added to the link. The hacker would then take control of your system and steal all your data. At least read the link properly.

Following the given tips could help people avoid getting into such situations and safeguard themselves from the world of predators. Setting some ground rules for children is also important at the same time. Set a mutually acceptable time limit and access for the children and it wouldn’t have to turn into an inescapable situation.