Ask the audience: Internet safety

by DaniGirl on June 8, 2013 · 4 comments

in Mothering without a licence

Im doing a presentation to a group of parents next week on Internet safety. I’ve got my information all pulled together and I’m putting it into a powerpoint slideshow. I’d love your input on either things that worry you or actions you’ve taken at home to make sure your kids can surf safely. We’re mostly talking about elementary school aged kids, and I’m mostly focusing on the junior years (Grades 4 – 6).

To me, there are five major risk areas:
– stumbling across (or searching out) inappropriate content
– phishing, malware and malicious downloads
– inappropriate disclosure of private information
– cyberbullying and stranger danger
– unexpected costs or bills from things like in-app purchases

I’m choosing to mainly focus on privacy and cyberbullying, because these are behavioural issues more than technology issues, and because they are the ones that worry me personally the most. But have I missed any other significant risk kids face online?

I’ve got a set of 10 tips for safe family surfing, which I’ll share after the presentation. (Disclosure: still fine-tuning those!) But would you care to share the steps you take to “cyber-proof” your kids? (Hmmm, I think I just came up with a new title for the presentation. “Cyber-proof your kids!”) As a parent, is there anything you would like more information about?

On the airplane

And just out of curiousity, do you use parental controls on your computer?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 _Don June 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I worked (until very recently) at a network security company that made firewall hardware. I wrote the documentation for it. I may be able to provide some insight on some things. I’ll be in touch at the end od the weekend/early next week. I’m between photo shoots and theatre shows right now.

2 Karen June 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I don’t know if this helps, but I like to reference a couple things when I give privacy presentations – the first is the Google Chrome incognito browsing warning and the other is a quote from Christopher Penn’s disclosure page (his statement on privacy, specifically):

Assume you have none anywhere on the Internet and you’ll never be disappointed. Don’t ever submit to me anything you wouldn’t put up on a public bulletin board. Assume that everything is on the record, because it probably is – there’s a security camera somewhere, watching you right now, and your government is almost certainly collecting more info about you than you know. So is Google. If you’re concerned about privacy of your information, don’t post it online ever.

Chris Penn, Awaken Your Superhero Disclosures Page (


After Chris’ gem of a privacy statement, I quote myself: “Your information is only as secure as the weakest password among your friends.” (And who doesn’t know someone who has had their Facebook account hacked?)

One specific privacy issue I always cover is screen shots. Just because you delete something doesn’t mean it will go away or that no one has seen it. One good example is the snapchat story that images aren’t actually purged like people were told. And even if they’re purged from the app, that doesn’t mean someone hasn’t taken a screen cap of them. Same goes for text messages, Twitter DMs (which have gone public in the past), and Facebook private messages or closed/secret groups.

That’s my two cents. Good luck with your presentation – this one is such an important topic!

3 DaniGirl June 9, 2013 at 6:33 am

Thanks Don!

Karen, TERRIFIC quote – I love it! Very relevant for my day job, too – very timely! I have a point about snapchat but I had forgotten incognito browsing. Ugh, there is so much to say!

4 angela ( angfromthedock ) June 10, 2013 at 8:11 am

could you just please re iterate to these parents that they need to be aware of their kid’s online activity and how SM works with kids? i am so tired of hearing about how parents just do not have time/are not familiar enough/can not keep up with the internet that their kids are on. if they can not keep up, then they should not have their kids on it. and then that begs the question…why are they afraid? they need to learn how their kids are communicating with each other because it is such an integral part of being a kid now – WHETHER OR NOT THE PARENTS LIKE IT.

the cyberbullying is so important, because for many kids, they are being encouraged to behave in bullying ways on a daily basis ( TBH’s, ASKFM, and on and on and on…) which undermines even the best brought up child. do parents even know what a TBH is? what their child’s password is on ASKFM ( which their kid should NOT be on anyways )? how about if their kid has multiple tumblr accounts? who are they snapchatting with? KIK??

yeah, all of this:).

i could go on forever.

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