How To Protect Your Kids Against Cyber Crimes?

Posted: September 20, 2018

Parents please beware! Social media lurkers are everywhere. Follow guidelines and help your kids stay safe. 

As soon as I read this tweet following a recent news report on a 12 year old being sexually harassed, I felt a lump in my throat. I couldn’t agree yet I couldn’t disagree. Parenting is a balancing act, just that at times we do not know how to balance it right. Not just in the real world, a plethora of social media platforms have raised the stress levels of the new age parent. Is it okay to let my child WhatsApp her friends? Should I go through my son or daughter’s facebook friends list? Is it okay if my teenager posts photos on Instagram?

With a rise in social media platforms and dating apps, intruders are finding new ways to honey trap people. Sextortion is one such cyber crime that blackmails victims with sexual information or photos to extort sexual or monetary favours. Though men have been the most common victim so far, ConnectSafely.org (a Silicon Valley, Calif.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security) has published safety tips and precautions and advice to parents with regards to sexting and sextortion.

What can we, as parents, do?

Kids and teenagers are often reluctant to share sexting and sextortion issues with any elders they trust because of fear, guilt and confusion. They fear being judged, criticized, disciplined, punished or worse, being marginalized by their peers. Here are few things you could do to assure them of your support and to get them out of the situation.

  • First and foremost is the common advice and parenting tip that you find everywhere. Give your kid the assurance that you are there with them no matter what, often and in different ways.
  • Let them share their perspective of the incident without passing judgement or giving opinions.
  • Convince them not to give in to demands, monetary or otherwise.
  • Help them get out of the situation respectfully and involve them in every step.
  • Report the incident through the site’s abuse reporting system and file a cyber complaint if needed. Block further communication with the person in question.

Have more questions about sextortion and how to prevent it? Watch Manjula Sridhar, who runs ArgByte that helps businesses and individuals to identify fake profiles and prevent fraud, help us understand the situation.

Image Source – Pixabay

 

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