This guest post from TurnOnVPN presents the risks associated with children’s use of devices, as well as providing steps to make them secure
How computers have revolutionized our world in the last few decades has affected our children. A big percentage of kids use computer devices every day. Many kids even have a better knowledge of the operations of smartphones better than their parents.
Although it could be argued that the internet poses a certain degree of danger to children, the benefits still outweigh the cons. There are lots of educational games and websites that a child can use to make learning fun. Kids also have better access to their teachers through online platforms.
A child can message a teacher to request an explanation of a certain concept. Even if that option is not available, there are search engines that can provide the answers a kid needs in an instant.
Despite these numerous advantages, there are bad actors on the internet. Some of them can target children in a bid to make easy money. Below, you’ll find the dangers associated with kids using the internet.
Risks Associated with the use of Devices
- Hackers on Public Wi-Fi
Only rich people or tech-savvy individuals can resist the urge of connecting to public Wi-Fi. Rich people, because they can afford to burn their data and tech-savvy individuals because they understand the risk of using public Wi-Fi.
Hackers love public Wi-Fi because it can give them access to tens or hundreds of devices at once. Usually, they exploit a security flaw in the Wi-Fi network to spy on devices connected to the network. They can also create a bogus Wi-Fi hotspot with a legitimate name so people get confused on which network to connect to.
It is very easy for kids to fall into this trap because they’re used to connecting with public Wi-Fi. The allure of downloading multiple videos and games could prove to be too strong for them.
Phishing is a method used by hackers to get you to give up login credentials. They do this by cloning a legitimate website so you have no idea you’re trying to log in to a fake website.
Children easily fall for phishing attempts because they’re not used to phishing attempts. Since phishing takes place through email, they could also feel a false sense of security if the message comes from an address they think is familiar.
Some hackers lookout for platforms populated with children. They can get email addresses from the platform and target them with spear phishing.
- Online Predators
Online predators are sick people that obsessively follow children on the internet. Usually, they masquerade as kids so they can gain the trust of a child.
There have been cases where kids have been lured into real-life meetings with predators. Sometimes, they use chat and online gaming platforms used by children to communicate with them.
If the predator gains the child’s trust, the kid’s location could be revealed with a deceitful method. A website address controlled by the predator could be sent to the child. Once the youngster visits the website, the IP address would be revealed, exposing the child’s location.
Steps to take while Securing your Children’s Devices
- Protect your Children’s Devices with a VPN
It’s highly unlikely that your kids will remember your cautionary words about public Wi-Fi not being safe. Before they realized it, they would have connected to the free network and downloaded loads of stuff.
To get past this issue, this is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy. This tool provides encryption so strong that any potential hacker would not be able to break it. Therefore, children’s devices are protected when they are online.
A VPN can protect your children from predators. When you use a VPN on your home router, your IP address changes, making it seem like you’re in another location. If a predator pulls a trick on your child, the real IP address will be hidden and the IP address of the VPN server is what will be shown.
- Perform Research on Toys
If the toy you’re buying for your child can get connected to the internet, make sure you check online reviews. If there are negative reviews concerning the toy’s propensity to get kids’ data, avoid the toy. You can use child advocacy websites for this purpose.
Protecting your child from big tech companies is also key. Make certain that the device doesn’t collect data about your child. There are smart device makers that siphon voice recordings and store facial recognition information about your child.
Despite the many benefits the smart devices offer children, there are a few drawbacks. It is becoming increasingly easy for hackers to spy on kids.
They use techniques like phishing, IP address theft, and public Wi-Fi hacking. To protect your child, you need to get a VPN and do extensive research on devices before you purchase them.