From the early 2000’s to now we’ve watched technology grow abundantly and become more accessible, especially for our children. We’ve watched as young kids have transitioned from playing man hunt with their friends to spending hours upon hours on computers. It is believed that our teens are spending around 9 hours on the internet a day. With all that time spent on the internet, children and teens are becoming so technologically advanced that they may be putting themselves in danger. Here are a list of 5 covert online activities that your kids can probably do, that you may not be aware of:
Use anonymous proxy sites:
Proxy sites allow kids to circumvent the parental controls or web filtering* set up on their network. The danger is not in the proxy site itself, but in the untraceable sites they can get to by using an anonymous proxy website. There will be no record of the child's browsing history, so they can’t be held accountable for their actions, and if something goes dangerously wrong, there may be no paper trail to remedy the situation. Using a proxy a child could access any site they want, including porn, the blue whale game, and drugs.
Set up a VPN:
There are many dangers associated with young people accessing VPN networks, including looking at inappropriate images and websites, but most importantly it distracts students from actually learning. Students are spending time and energy working to get to the sites that they are blocked from, and unfortunately the students are savvy enough to use VPN’s to get to their applications. Though they may not be in direct danger accessing snapchat, it could lead to distractions and bullying.
Search the deep dark web:
Many people understand what the deep dark web is, but not many understand the dangers that are out there when you access it. Illegal activity is wide spread throughout the hidden internet. It is a place where one can hire a hitman, or a prostitute, but most commonly among students is purchasing large amounts of illegal drugs. The drugs itself is not the only danger in this situation; students are handing over personal information to criminals.
Enter Anonymous Group Chats(in apps and websites):
Anonymous chats have always been a threat to children, but as technology has evolved it has become easier for predators to contact our kids. Most applications have chatting functions now, and some don’t require a “friendship” to engage in chats. A seven-year-old girl in Wisconsin was on a popular music app that lets you create music videos, when a man claiming to be a nine-year-old boy asked her to send pictures of herself without clothes on. Children as young as five are smart enough to use devices that can lead them directly to predators.
Catfishing has been more and more common and more and more disturbing in recent years. Catfishing is not only a way for children to become vulnerable to predators, but also a way for children to get in trouble in other ways. Students in North Carolina were arrested earlier this year because they were able to catfish a French teacher into sending them inappropriate images. They then released these images to the public and were arrested on charges of disclosing private images. The dangers of catfishing are real and they are wide spread.
While the dangers of the internet are real and in most cases understood by adults, the smarter children become, the greater the dangers posed by deceptive online behavior are going to be. As parents, teachers, and industry leaders, it’s our job to mitigate the risks inherent in internet use to keep children and teens safe online.
And while the younger generations will always have the edge as far as comfort with technology is concerned, it’s never too late to take steps in the right direction. Speak to one of our experts today to see how we can help you keep kids on your network safe from these 5 covert online behaviors and more with Smoothwall.