While this is an admittedly difficult task—it needs to be done.

It goes without saying that pedophiles and other miscreants go to where the targets are.internet-safety-for-kids-2 Add the fact that kids now seem to measure their popularity by the number of online friends they have, and that they’re trusting by nature, and you have a perfect storm for bad things happening to your kids.

Before you waste another moment, sit down with your kids while they’re logged in, and go through their ‘friends’ list. Ask them how they know each and every person on the list. If it’s clear they don’t know someone—delete them immediately! Do this as often as you need to based on your kids’ sensibilities.  And do this for any other social media sites they belong to.

Next, get them to understand that social media sites are free because THEY are the product. Everything they type has value to some marketer somewhere. I mentioned this to my nieceKids-Internet-Safety who seemed perplexed that anyone outside her sphere of friends would care what she posted and I said, “Really? You don’t think consumer product companies care what shampoo you’re using? And if you recommended it to a friend? And that friend recommended it to someone else? That’s about ALL they care about!” Then I told her not to be surprised when a sample of a competitor’s product shows up in her mailbox, just to drive my point home.

Finally, get them to understand that NOTHING they type is ever truly, permanently private. If they don’t want to see it posted on the school cafeteria then they shouldn’t type it into ANY device.

Hmm, the same thing goes for adults and the office cafeteria, for that matter!


About the Author

Doug Shields is an expert in information security, particularly in the fields of social engineering and employee security-awareness training. He has a long career with the U.S. Government Intelligence Community and private industry in the “white-hat hacker” security space. After recognizing a need for training programs to fix growing security concerns, he founded Humanisec, with a primary focus “to secure the human network”.