As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world, countries across the world are struggling with the big decision of reopening schools versus teaching through online platforms. In many states in the U.S., children may continue participating in virtual schools for the foreseeable future. The coronavirus containment measures, and limited scope of extra-curricular activities have led to an unprecedented increase in the amount of screen time that children get, even during the non-school hours. As a parent, if you worry about kids playing online games or browsing inappropriate websites, those worries may be further multiplied now, and rightly so.
Tips for Safeguarding against Fraud and Identity Theft
The rise in unsupervised online activities significantly increases the possibilities of cyberbullying, predator threats, and unsafe use of social media or other phone apps. Drawing on a report from UNICEF, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned parents and educators about an increased risk of child exploitation online. Security researchers have also highlighted certain glitches in popular social media applications. For example:
- TikTok has a vulnerability that allows hackers to post inappropriate or false content into the users’ feeds without their knowledge.
- Facebook is often in the news for gaps in its security practices, with the most recent one being 267 million Facebook profiles sold on the Dark Web for as little as $600!
Whether it is virtual learning or other online activities, if a child’s personal information gets breached or hacked into, it may end up for sale on the Dark Web, putting children at an increased risk of online identity theft. The data experts at Crown Information Management offer some useful tips on keeping children safe during all their online activities.
Top Tips to Protect Children from Online Predators
In the past few months, the state and federal authorities are taking the necessary steps to bolster child protection services and increase awareness about online safety. Industry-specific regulatory bodies have started enhancing online safety standards applicable to the information technology industry, especially for the virtual learning tools accessed by educators. Schools and social media platforms are also reflecting on the new realities and updating their current policies to enhance the safeguards against child identity theft.
While all other related parties continue to do their bit, as parents, here are some things that you could do to protect your children from online fraudsters, predators, and cyberbullies:
- Have open dialogues with your children at frequent intervals. Ask them how and with whom they communicate online.
- Establish some ground rules on how, when and where they can use the internet.
- Collate a list of apps that your children use and update the security settings within each app.
- Use parental control apps that allow you to review, approve, block, or manage the app download or in-app purchases.
- Participate in some of the online games that your children play frequently. That will give you a first-hand experience of the environment and interactions on that app or site.
- If possible, encourage your children to sit in high traffic areas, where you or an adult in the family has a line of sight on their online activities.
- Frequently review the browser history on all the devices the children use to ensure they are not venturing into any inappropriate sites.
- Familiarize yourself with any new social media platforms or apps that your children start using.
- Remain vigilant and watch for any signs of distress linked to their online activities.
- Stay updated on your school district policies, as well as local reporting mechanisms and keep numbers to support helplines handy.
Besides all the measures for protecting your children during their virtual activities, remember to practice safe storage and secure disposal of your physical and digital records, both personal and business-related.
If your business is looking for comprehensive record management and storage, or secure paper shredding and hard drive destruction, consider partnering with a SOC1, NAID AAA and PCI Certified company, such as Crown Information Management. Our certified information management can help you in sorting, indexing, storing, retrieving, tracking and permanently preserving or destroying all your confidential physical and digital information.
Call 800-979-9545 or contact us online to explore our complete range of record management and destruction services.