How to Take Control of your Child’s Digital Life Part I and II
Part 1- Understanding Technology
1) Smart Phones have surpassed all other devices as the most utilized electronic device used by children to communicate (text & voice) and surf the internet.
2) The newer Smart Phones are built with advanced hardware and software for larger storage capacity, higher memory to better multitask and file encryption. Note: These phones could have run the NASA Apollo missions.
3) Smart Phones with internet access are mobile computers that can handle anything you can do on a typical computer system. For example; access to the world wide web (www), upload download files from any source, cloud capabilities (remote storage), email, messaging, encrypting files, etc.
4) Smart Phones have numerous settings that can be configured for optimum security. The Apple iPhone has built-in parental controls that can be set to control all functions on the child’s phone. The Android phone lacks this function, but 3rd party recommended apps can be installed to provide controls and monitoring abilities.
5) Buying these devices and other electronics for use by children is an important decision for parents and guardians. These devices are not toys and should only be provided to children with the understanding that there are strict rules & regulations. These devices can be useful for parents, and can be beneficial in the supervision and behavior modification of their children. Remember children have plenty of friends, be their parent first! And seek assistance from trusted source(s) to provide answers to your questions.
How to Take Control of your Child’s Digital Life
Part 2 – Identifying the Threats
1) Allowing a child to have unsupervised/unmonitored access to the internet via Smart Phones or other computer devices can create a dangerous environment. Your child can be a victim without knowing that they are being victimized.
2) A common daily occurrence online is the enticement of children by sexual predators. This has been on-going since the internet became available to everyone (around 1995). These contacts are usually made through chat rooms, social networks and gaming sites.
3) Children tend to be honest, trusting and respectful. They often provide too much information about themselves on social networks and conversations with strangers.
4) Predators have mastered techniques in grooming children so that they can manipulate them into a sexual encounter. Additionally, your child may send images and/or videos of themselves to the predator. This is a common practice by children today. They sometimes have the misconception that it’s part of “dating”. In turn, the predator may send images and/or of adult/child pornography to your child to loosen their inhibitions (validating adult and child sex).
5) Children between 13-16 years of age seem to be the targeted age range by predators, because children in this age range are still immature and easily manipulated. The predators often lie about their age and other personal identifiers.
6) Look for behavioral changes in your child; for example, they are more secretive than normal, skipping school, loss of appetite, spends too much time on the phone and computer (usually late at night). When children get involved in adult situations, they tend to become afraid to disclose, due to not wanting to upset the predator and fearful of repercussions from parents.
7) The devices your children use contain enormous amounts of information about their activities. The information sometimes may not be readily seen by previewing it manually. Special extraction tools may be needed to gather this unseen data.
8) Recently it has been discovered that some children are using apps on Smart Phones to hide their chats and photos. These secret apps are also known as vault apps and decoy apps. They (Icons) can be disguised as a calculator, game, or other types of apps. These apps are password protected so all the content can’t be accessed.
9) This illustrates one type of cyber threat that can’t be ignored. The greatest loss is a child’s innocence. Once it’s taken it’s gone forever. Be vigilant and involved. Talk to your child about sex and keep open lines of communications. If you don’t someone else will!
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