<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=215109733140438&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
header image2000x100022b new

Cyber Safe Crest

 

PARENTS OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

 

Our children are ‘tech-savvy’ and highly technology literate having grown up with technology. A lot of what we hear about the internet and technology’s effects on children is negative. It is important that we talk to our children and listen, to foster open dialogue, so that they feel comfortable and empowered to speak about any concerns and that they develop healthy online habits.

 

HOW TO REPORT

 

If you have reasons to believe that the child or young person is being subjected to online grooming, expolitation, or bullying you must always report it.

You can report to MASH@DCFS.gov.ky or telephone them on 945-0545 or call the RCIPS on 911. All communication will be kept confidential and you will be offered support.

 

 

BULLYING DOES NOT JUST HAPPEN IN THE PLAYGROUND

 

Bullying is commonly conducted online via social media, chat forums and messaging platforms. The bullying may start in person and then move to the online world, where the reach is much larger as the messages are re-posted and shared to wider groups. Often, the target of the bullying is not even aware of what is being said online, and may only come to know later, which makes it all the worst, as they have not even had the opportunity to reply.

It is possible for the ‘bully’ to be anonymous by creating a fake profile for the purpose of bullying.

We know that bullying can lead to a number of serious consequences, such as children and young persons on the receiving end feeling excluded, isolated and vulnerable and in extreme cases can lead to an impact on their school work, truancy and other consequences.

 

What are the signs to look out for?

Here is some guidance on what signs to look out for as parents and carers. However this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of signs, and as such, parents and carers are best placed to use their instinct and judgment on such matters.

  1. You should look out for your child or young person appearing quite upset or having a noticeable change in their mood, and this being associated with their use of their computer or mobile phone, with no other reasonable explanation for that being the case;
  2. You should look out for behavioral change in your child or young person; them becoming withdrawn or being less confident or not speaking to their usual friends;
  3. You should look out for your child or young person seeming to be under pressure to get online even when it is not so convenient to do so, say when you are out as a family.

 

What should you do?

If you suspect your child is being bullied, then you should start the conversation with the child or young person. Once you understand if it is occurring or how it is affecting your child or young person, this will guide you on the next steps.

If it transpires that your child is being bullied online, you should report this to the relevant authority, in most cases this will be the school.

Report to MASH@DCFS.gov.ky or Tel: 945-0545 or the RCIPS tel.: 911. All communication will be kept confidential and you will be offered support.

 

 

SPOT THE SIGNS OF ONLINE CHILD EXPloitation

Having done their research on the child or young person they wish to target, the online predator will then reach out with a ‘friend’ request to the target via social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the like). The online predator will typically create a fake persona with fake pictures to match that of the target (i.e. 15 year old boy who loves to skateboard, loves a particular type of music and has a favorite band). The research already done by the online predator will inform the choice of the persona that he/she choses to adopt. This will increase the chances of the child or young person accepting the ‘friend’ request.

Most children and young persons have social media ‘public’ profiles and they have a tendency to share lots of information about themselves, the things they do and the things they like. This is exactly the type of information that online predators need to create their personas.

Once the ‘friend’ request is accepted, the online predator will slowly and meticulously build the friendship with their target(s) until they are one of their most trusted friends and confidants. All the while, the child or young person is likely never to have met the person behind the fake persona. The online predator will then seek to lure the child or young person into sharing increasingly revealing images, which will start out as friendly but often typically moves to the online predator using the images to bully and demand more from the child or young person.

 

What are the signs to look out for?

Here is some guidance on what signs to look out for as parents and carers. However this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of signs, and as such, parents and carers are best placed to use their instinct and judgment on such matters.

  1. You should look out for your child or young person spending an increasing number of hours online or spending the early hours of the morning, chatting with any person(s) unknown to you and your child, or chatting to known persons in circumstances that make it inappropriate;
  2. You should look out for behavioral change in your child or young person; them becoming withdrawn or being less confident or not speaking to their usual friends;
  3. You should look out for your child or young person seeming to be under pressure to get online when it is not so convenient to do so, say when you are out as a family;
  4. You should look out for your child or young person appearing quite upset or having a noticeable change in their mood, and this being associated with their use of their computer or mobile phone, with no other reasonable explanation for that being the case.

 

What should YOU do?

You should always promote dialogue with your child or young person on the dangers of online grooming and encourage them to have healthy online habits. You must always avoid blaming the child or young person.

If you have reasons to believe that the child or young person is being subjected to online grooming, you must always report it.

Report to MASH@DCFS.gov.ky or tel.: 945-0545 or the RCIPS tel.: 911. All communication will be kept confidential and you will be offered support.

 

 

CYBER SAFETY STARTS AT HOME

Most households now run network devices linked to the internet, including computers, gaming systems, TVs, tablets, smartphones and wearable devices that access wireless (WIFI) networks. If your home network, network devices and online accounts are not secured, then they provide the cyber attackers with an entry point into your home WIFI network.

You should think about securing your home WIFI network, network devices and online accounts, in the same way that you think about physically securing the doors and windows in your home.

 

What should YOU know and what should YOU do?

Internet-enabled and smart home devices are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Examples of these are home webcams, smart speakers which respond to your voice requests, smart door bells with integrated cameras, smart TVs and much more. Whilst such devices provide the convenience of being internet connected with their smart technologies and may allow you to remotely access them, be aware that if not secured, they provide a vulnerable point of entry for your security and privacy to be compromised.

Cyber criminals commonly exploit weaknesses in insecure home WIFI networks, unpatched software running on your computers, untrusted or fake apps running on your mobile devices, to compromise your home network and devices. Each and every household has an important role to play keeping your home environment safe and secure and educating your family on safe cyber practices.

 

What should YOU do?

Cyber Safety with Children

We now have ‘smart toys’ able to listen, speak, ask questions and browse the internet and more. Some of the ‘smart toys’ are equipped with cameras, microphones and speakers.   This also applies to devices, such as baby monitoring devices and the like. The main risk associated with such toys is from cyber attackers, who can exploit weak security for the purpose of surveillance. You should always check the security and privacy setting on ‘smart toys’. This is likely to include changing the default factory password and keep the software up to date.

You should setup parental control for the search engines accessed from your child’s computer and for considering restricting their use to one of the ‘child-friendly’, safe search engines designed for young children to safely access the internet. You will need to research the most suitable one for your child.

Parents and carers should remain vigilant to your children’s online activities and talk to the children, to ensure that they are not viewing inappropriate content, being groomed or bullied online.

Your Home WIFI

It can be the case that cyber hackers somehow discover the default password to certain make and models of routers and publicise it on the internet. You should check with your ISP and if it is possible to change your default password, ask for them instructions on how to do this.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will allow you to change the default password and settings on your home router, this will require you to have technical knowledge or do some research in order to make appropriate changes on your router to increase security. If you are not comfortable with making changes to your router, you should seek advice from the ISP.

Smart Home Devices

You should always ensure that your security settings on your smart home devices, are in line with the available guidance, so that your smart home devices are secure. The guidance on securing these devices will be brand specific. You will need to research and/or follow the manufacturer’s guidance on how to secure these devices.

A good rule of thumb is that when these devices are not in use, they should be switched off.

Home Computers

You should ensure that you have trusted anti-virus software installed on your home computers and that you regularly install updates released by the software vendor.

You should regularly back-up important data and files held on your home computer. This is established good practice advice, as, in the case that your computer is compromised, the backup you have taken may be the only means of restoring the important data.  

Email and Social Media Accounts

You and your family should adopt the good practice of setting ‘strong’ passwords, for your email and social media accounts. A ‘strong’ password is between 10 and 15 keyboard characters. Good guidance for creating a ‘strong’ password is, using three random words that you will remember and at least two numbers that are memorable or meaningful to you. The longer and the more unusual your password is, the stronger it will be.

If two-factor authentication is available for your email or social media account(s), you should always enable it.

Think carefully about whether your social media profile should be ‘public’ as a ‘private’ profile is more secure. Think carefully about the personal information and photographs that you share on social media, particularly if your profile is ‘public’. You and your family should review the ‘privacy’ settings on your social media account and enable more privacy settings.

You and your family should look out for unexpected, unsolicited and unusual emails as they are likely to be fake email(s), also known as a phishing or fraud email(s). Most of these end up automatically in your ‘Junk’ or ‘Spam’ Folder. However, be aware that some of the fake emails do get through and make it into your ‘Inbox’. If you receive, such an email, don’t be tempted to open the attachment or click the link, as it is likely that by doing so, you will infect your machine with malicious software.

Downloading Mobile Apps

Only download apps to your mobile devices from trusted sources, such as Apple App Store or Google App Store.

You should never download apps from untrusted or unverified websites or stores. Cyber criminals often create fake apps to look very similar to the genuine apps, to entice unsuspecting persons to download these. If you download the fake apps, it is likely to be used to steal information (i.e. contact list, photos etc.,) or for some other malicious purpose. Some of the signs that you should look out for is, your battery running down much quicker than before and spotting unusual things on your phone. If you have mistakenly downloaded what you suspect to be a suspicious or malicious app, you should remove it from your phone.

Online Shopping

There are a large number of fake websites, which have been created solely for the purpose of fraud or to steal your personal information, so be cautious when entering your personal data and debit or credit card information. Trust your instincts and check before you proceed.

You should always shop online from reliable or trusted online vendors and websites.

If an offer, sounds too good to be true, it probably is, as the saying goes.

You should consider using your credit card when shopping online for stronger consumer protection.