Cybercrime is one of the most complicated illegal acts born from the development of the internet. While millions enjoy the easy access to information and other benefits, some misuse internet for criminal activity such as web jacking, virus attacks, e-mail bombing, cyber stalking and cyber pornography, while children are the latest victims of cyber-crime.
There are several types of cyber-crime against children including the illegal trade of children known as trafficking, displaying of videos, writing or photographs that depicts erotic behaviour known as pornography, smooth changes from one image to another via animated techniques known as morphing, and the abduction of children to obtain ransom known as kidnapping.
According to the Nations Crime Records Bureau, a child disappears every eight minutes and a large number of children are trafficked for reasons such as begging, labour, and sexual exploitation.
Interpol also found that internet crimes against children facilitated through the use of the internet are constantly increasing and offenders not only access child abuse material easier but also gain access to children through the use of social network sites and chat rooms.
Interpol has published steps on how to identify victims of child sexual abuse. However, there are several prevention methods available to assist parents in preventing child abuse including VPN and antivirus software.
As internet usage continues to grow daily, the worldwide web appears to be a huge development that brings the globe nearer, creating a smaller place for users to live in, as the cyber areas are growing so is cyber-crimes, including identity theft, cyberstalking, hacking, child soliciting and malicious software.
Communication and information technologies have created an exciting area for children to play and learn but, with technology, the chance for offenders to gain access to victims and online exploitation of those underage has become a global concern. Through the internet, access to children is faster and high volumes of young victims are facilitated via online games, social networking, and chat rooms.
Prior to the internet, offenders with a collection of 150 images of children were thought off as having a huge collection, while today a collection of 150,000 images is standard and it’s not unheard of that it can surpass 1,.5 million images according to forensic psychologist Dr Joe Sullivan. Sullivan also shared that new exploitation forms are developing as a result of easy accessibility and has furthermore seen made-to-order child sexual abuse material being ordered using specifications such as the nature of the sexual content, a victim’s race, age, and setting or fantasy storyline.
Parental Control Software
The safest way to protect children from Cyber-Crime according to Harvard University is to use parental control software, place computers in highly trafficked areas, bookmark favourite sites, avoid downloads, set limits on use, establish rules, and to stay in the loop while continuingly educate youngsters on cyber-safety.
Social Media Privacy Settings
It is important as a parent to know that Social Media privacy settings can be adjusted to ensure privacy and to limit which photos and posts are shared with those viewing an individual’s social media page.
Here are helpful links to Social Media platforms most commonly accessed:
1. Facebook’s Help Centre
Facebook’s Help Centre offers several privacy settings and tools. This can be accessed by visiting the Facebook Help Centre and adjusting the settings to limit access by those, not on your child’s friends list.
It is important to understand that an alarming 38% of children Facebook accounts are held by those under twelve, and 4% are reported to be six years of age or younger according to the survey conducted by Minor Monitor.
Instagram is another popular social media site that offers a variety of control settings. To access the Instagram Help Centre.
In addition to the Help Center, Instagram offers tips for parents. You can access a wide variety of tips using the Instagram Tips for Parents page.
3. Snapchat Privacy Settings
Snapchat is one that is common and less intrusive for children to use as permission needs to be granted in order to send images. However, it is ideal as a parent to ensure the settings on a child’s account ensures privacy. You can access privacy settings here: Snapchat Privacy Settings.
WhatsApp is a less commonly used social media platform but still very common among younger audiences. Staying Safe on WhatsApp offers tips on how to stay safe while using their service, and for parents, this is an ideal page to visit.
In addition to the staying safe page, WhatsApp offers End-To-End Protection to further assist protecting your children while using the app.
5. KiK Safety
Kik is another messenger service for smartphones. It allows users to send messages, images, gif’s etc. They also take the safety of users seriously and include a page dedicated to Safety.
YouTube has stepped in as the favoured platform for children when watching T.V and is by far one of the most visited sites, although not all content is suitable for children. YouTube offers Safety page that allows the enabling of a restriction mode for desktops, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Understand the Method to Protect Children from The Danger
Forensic psychologists believe that by understanding the methods used it could help parents significantly in taking the necessary steps to protect their children. Online grooming is a method used to build a relationship of trust with a minor; this gives sex offenders the opportunity to meet with their victim in secret and eventually having sex with him/her. Grooming is an ancient phenomenon in which visits from family members or friends includes sharing secrets with younger children, although the risk of parents finding out is much higher. In an online situation, parents know less about what their children are doing and may not notice “trust relationship” being established with a stranger that could involve sextortion.
The Interaxion Group Education Family Media have combined a list of 20 things parents can do to protect their children, which includes safeguarding YouTube, setting privacy controls on social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Kik, and WhatsApp as well as the installation of VPN and antivirus software. This can be accessed by visiting the Interaxion Group Ways to Protect Your Kids page.
Interaxion Group also published an article in October of 2017 that details that Child Dignity in the Digital World has enjoyed a large volume of attention around the globe and Pope Francisco is an influencer of the network and protecting children online. The Popes Twitter Account has reached 40 million followers, while his Instagram equals that of Taylor Swift in likes.
Separate Accounts for Children & How to Set Security
Parents should take precautions and have separate accounts and set the security settings to reflect the age group of children accounts. Microsoft allows for individual accounts to have their own Privacy and Security settings page.
Apple also provides the same abilities and prevents those under the age of 13 from creating their own accounts. This applies to both online, smartphones and tablets. Parents can visit the Apple Support page to adjust settings and approve accounts.
Google is another that takes security for all users, especially those underage seriously. Parents can quickly access the Google Account Privacy page to set security settings for their child’s account.
Kid Safe Web-browsers
The best free parental control software according to Techrador in 2017 is Qustodio, OpenDNS Family Shield, Kidlogger, Spyrix Free Keylogger and Zoodles. These are listed below:
1. Qustodio is an app that allows for Parental control. They offer a free account or premium account at a reasonable cost
2. OpenDNS Family Shield is a Home Internet service that allows for improved security and reliability while online. Parents can register a free account or purchase a one-year premium service for $19.95 per annum.
3. Kidlogger is a logging service for parents that allows them to monitor their children’s activities while online. They include a basic service that is free, or for those who wish a more advanced service, a standard or professional service that costs $29 and $89 respectively per annum.
4. Spyrix Free Keylogger is a keylogger software that allows you as a parent to monitor all keystroke activity on social networks and instant messenger apps such as Facebook and Skype.
5. Zoodles is designed for children to enjoy their time online in a safe digital online environment. Parents can select the free version or the premium version for a reasonable cost.
Limit Time Children Spend Online
The New York Times published in 2014 that Steve Jobs was a Low-Tech parent and limited how much technology his kids used at home. According to the Educational App Store, the best parental control apps to use for limiting and monitoring screen time are ScreenLimit, Limitly Screen Time Control, Qustodio Parental Control, Esset Parental Control and Norton Family Parental Control.
Chat Room Safety
Common Sense Media offers several lists of the best games, movies, music and leaning channels for kids and provides parents with the safest chat rooms and social sites for children as well as several Parent-Assisting Tips.
Modern day children are used to the idea of connecting to the entire world and have never known a time where using the internet did not exist. Browsing takes place on laptops, desktops while sharing and communicating can be continued via smartphone and tablet devices.
Antivirus software is highly recommended for all devices used by children and will automatically block files and malicious websites and provides parental controls to block inappropriate content while also blocking adult sites. Google Chrome now include parental block options while VPN use for connections is strongly suggested.
The best parental control software rated by PC Magazine is offered through VPN software and includes online protection for the entire family. Those highly rated include:
1. GoldFrog is an ideal VPN for Windows, TV, routers, Android, and iOS.
2. NordVPN is highly recommended for Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows.
3. ExpressVPN is compatible and recommended for Linux, Blackberry, Windows, Mac OS, iOS, routers, iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
4. PureVPN is another highly rated VPN that is ideal for most smartphones, tablets, and home computers.
5. HydeMyAss also has a loyal following with parents and online users. It is compatible with all devices and home computers.
Keeping children safe online starts by educating them about online safety, knowledge is the foundation and combining it with the best security software can guard children against the most general dangers in chatrooms and prevent information sharing with strangers.
Parental controls can also be set up on PlayStation4, and parents can set a level from one through eleven to determine which games kids are allowed to play.