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How to talk tech and keep your kids safe online
Children around the world, like all of us, had an unusual time in 2020. Instead of adventuring in the great outdoors, they were making do with what they had – exploring the far reaches of the internet. But what exactly were they doing and how can parents protect them?
Where did kids spend most of their time during lockdown?
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
A new study from Kaspersky Safe Kids shows that during the winter of this pandemic, despite restrictions, kids entertained themselves online, with YouTube (21 percent) and gaming (15 percent) being the most popular activities. The top topic on YouTube? Video games. Kids went mad for them. 37 percent searched for video game clips, including channels of game streamers who play different games and channels for specific games like Minecraft.
Another new trend was TikTok, which has exploded to 800 million monthly active users in more than 150 countries.
It's official – more of our kids' lives are being lived online. Agreed, the web and its many applications are great for keeping children entertained, but how do you protect them from threats?
"Get home before the dark." "Look left and right before crossing the street." "Don't talk to strangers." Classic parental lines from the pre-internet era. But it's easy to forget that what's inside the home may be just as dangerous as outside it in today's connected world.
The internet and mobiles bring us entertainment, education, and excitement - but also cyberthreats, like strangers wanting to befriend your child online. The study shows although 84 percent of parents are worried about their children's online safety, on average, they only spend a total of 46 minutes talking to them about online security throughout their entire childhood. So how can you keep your children safe online? #TimeToTalkOffline
Before you can talk confidently about web safety with your kids, you first need to know more than how to throw a sheep on Facebook or avoid using 'reply all' on an office email joke thread. Educate yourself now about topics like fake news, cyberbullying or online grooming. Teach yourself how to keep your data safe online and then show your children how to do it. Let them know that what goes on the web stays on the web, even if it gets deleted from their profiles. And the most important part: make them talk to you the moment they sense something could be wrong - whether someone has taken their videos, or a stranger is asking them to share private photos.
Learn more about your children’s interests
Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
Without being pushy or overbearing, try talking to your child about what they search for and what they enjoy. That way, you can keep a closer eye on those particular sites. Need a hand? Kaspersky Safe Kids can provide you with regular reports about how they spend their time online. The app analyzes your children's search activity and manages screen time without encroaching on their personal space.
Act as a role model
No matter what we tell our kids, we have to lead by example: if you're a smoker, no matter how often you tell your children that smoking is bad for them, they are twice as likely to begin smoking. We can all talk a lot; in the end, our kids will copy our behavior and not just what we preach. Be careful of how you use the Internet, don't take your mobile with you when going to the toilet, and if your kids allow you to befriend them on social media (lucky you,) don't judge them when they post jokes or complain about their homework – because they are well aware of how to keep you from seeing their posts, without you knowing – but teach them well and make them understand the consequences.
Trust goes both ways
You can't expect your kids to trust you if you check their browser history every time they use the computer (and they probably know how to delete it anyway ;) Otherwise they'll start getting sneaky and hide things from you. If your child thinks they're doing something wrong and might get in trouble if you find out, then when they are in real trouble, let's say a stranger online tells them to "brush your hair and take your picture," then they may not talk to you.
Read more about how kids coped with COVID-hit winter holidays on SecureList.
Videos we love: Five amazing sci-fi shows that predict the future of tech
Technology could go anywhere in future. We ask you, which of these five sci-fi on-demand TV shows predicts it best?
Which sci-fi series gets our tech future right?
Predicting the future of tech is hard. These five on-demand sci-fi TV shows all predict different technological futures for humankind. Which do you think is closest to the truth?
Watch on Amazon Prime
In a new twist on the superhero saga, in Alphas, a select few humans have developed super senses, but they're also plagued by harmful drawbacks. For the crime-fighting supergroup, their strengths and flaws act as both help and hindrance.
Watch on Netflix
Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored in human spines, people can survive physical death by having their memories and consciousness "re-sleeved" into new bodies. What could go wrong?
Watch on Netflix
Could technology alter memory and perception? Will AI be our friend or foe? Can we tell a digital human from a real one? This anthology of self-contained future worlds will satisfy the most curious minds, but is not for the faint-hearted.
Brave New World
Watch on Amazon Prime
This 2020 adaptation loosely based on Aldous Huxley's influential 1932 novel envisions a perfect, happy society, where everyone knows their place. But, with advanced genetic technology, is it possible?
Watch on BBC iPlayer (UK only)
In a world where quantum computing can predict all human behavior (ouch,) humanity places its trust in a crack team of developers to restore their freedom.
There you have it – our five favorite sci-fi shows predicting a technological future. Which stands out for you, and why? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook and see what others say. And at Tomorrow Unlocked, we have our own predictions for the future of tech. Strap in – this is Imagine Beyond.
Videos we like: Documentaries on how COVID-19 changed our world
How much will our lives change after COVID-19? We look at five of the most powerful documentaries made during the pandemic.
How did filmmakers see COVID-19?
The global community meets an invisible enemy, and must race against the clock to save humanity – COVID-19 is a compelling story. How was it seen by filmmakers around the world? These five must-see documentaries from creatives worldwide exploring different sides of the pandemic.
76 Days (above)
Directed by Hao Wu and Weixi Chen
What was Wuhan like in the pandemic's early days? Wonder no more. This acclaimed documentary is a poignant snapshot of struggle and resilience in the battle to survive the coronavirus.
Directed by Didi Mae Hand
The pandemic stretched hospital resources more than ever. Among the first to take advantage of the struggle was a wave of deadly hackers. Follow as the healthcare system fights the virus on two fronts.
Part of a series commissioned by Tomorrow Unlocked.
Directed by Ai WeiWei
Each country responded differently to the outbreak. China's was one of military and extreme efficiency. But what impact did that response have on their people? Behind the scenes of China's battle against a silent killer, directed by acclaimed artist Ai WeiWei.
Eight countries, one global pandemic
Directed by Great Big Story
This heartwarming documentary follows eight households from across the globe every day through the pandemic, to see how different families coped with lockdown.
Directed by Adam Benzine
The Trump administration's response to COVID-19 receives an insightful, highly emotional look from Academy Award-nominated director Adam Benzine.
It wasn't just professionals capturing the pandemic through a lens. During lockdown, we asked creatives worldwide to capture one hour from their pandemic experience. Watch the playlist we made from these moments – TWELVE.