Staying safe online

Parents and children need to be educated about online safety. Kaspersky Lab gives us some tips.

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“Children have access to so many technologies today: mobile phones, social media, games and more,” says Riaan Badenhorst, General Manager for Kaspersky Lab Africa. While the internet does have many benefits for children, it can be a dangerous place. Children and parents can both benefit from understanding how to be safe online.
 
What the research shows
According to Kaspersky Lab data, 60% of children in South Africa are mostly interested in ‘internet communication media’ – what we call social media. Experts say there are some threats associated with social networks. For example, children can accidentally or intentionally enter pages with adult content such as pornography or scenes of violence. The data shows that 20% of children based in Joburg open sites that included content about drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
 
Another danger involves contact with strangers. Children make contact with strangers more easily on social networks than in real life. A research report South Africa Kids Online showed that 30% of children added new people to their social media friends list whom they have never met in real life. One can never be completely sure who is on the other side of the monitor – another child or an adult with less-than-pure intentions. The situation is aggravated when children publish their address on social networks or indicate places and locations they visit – 67% of children shared details about the school they attend and 54% shared their places and locations.
 
Children are also increasingly faced with cyberbullying – humiliation or harassment via electronic communication tools. The same research shows that 22% of children reported having being treated in a hurtful or nasty way in the past year.
 
Staying safe
Children seldom look for bad or dangerous content, but stumble upon it by accident, says Konstantin Ignatev, Acting Head of Content Analysis & Research at Kaspersky Lab. So parents need to prepare children for such threats and explain the risks.
 
To help children avoid the potential problems, Kaspersky Lab experts advise parents to talk to their children and educate them about safe behaviour and security on the internet. Explain that it isn’t a good idea to publish too much personal information. Children should also never follow links from unknown recipients: tempting offers can lead to infected pages. Finally, explain to children that their "friends" should only be those whom they know personally.
 
Kaspersky Lab's experts have also identified behaviours that might indicate that there is an issue related to your child’s social media habits:
  • sudden changes in mood for no apparent reason
  • changing the style of use of the digital device and social networks (for example, the child begins to wake up at night to go online)
  • a sharp increase or decrease in the number of "friends" in the social network
  • the appearance of "friends" with a big age difference
  • abusive images and messages on the child's page
  • the child deletes the page on social networks
 
Parental control programmes are important for child protection but the key safeguard is education -- both for children and adults. Kaspersky Lab suggests these educational tips for parents and for children
 
About Kaspersky Lab 
Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company celebrating its 20 year anniversary in 2017. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. In the arsenal of Kaspersky Lab solutions there is a separate product Kaspersky Safe Kids, as well as a "Parental Control" module in Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security. These programmes help parents control the device's usage time, set up an Internet access schedule, and receive reports about the time the child spends on his/her gadget. In addition, they protect the child from viewing adult content, inform parents of the signs of cyberbullying, provide statistics on calls and SMS, and much more.

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