Category: Internet Filtering & Security

Teen’s Online Privacy and Cyber Security

teenagers onlines privacys and cyber security

Cyber security and online privacy are perhaps the most important considerations for any generation alive today, but especially for teenagers. Maintaining privacy when it comes to their personal identifying information, location and even family member identities will help to thwart efforts at identity theft and even traffickers trying to track down at-risk teenagers.

Statistics

According to Stay Safe Online, 1/3 of a child’s life is spent online, 77% of children go to online school and 94% of teens do online research. Furthermore, 91% of 18-24 year-olds say they network online with people they don’t really know. 46% of the same age group uses file-sharing apps that offer access to their personal PCs and files. The most common password used in America is “password,” so further education on the importance of maintaining cybersecurity should be the number one goal of parents and teachers.

Personal safety isn’t the only thing at risk, either. Your teen may suffer from or witness cyberbullying through online messaging and social media, too. Bullying Statistics says that almost half of young people have received threatening messages online. 42% of youths experience bullying on Instagram, 37% on Facebook and 31% on Snapchat. 25% have been bullied through their cell phone.

In addition, the Cyberbullying Research Center says that 33.8% of students ages 12 to 17 have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime. Yet, only 1 in 10 teens will tell a parent. This can result in widespread rumors as well as mental health issues in the victims.

It Starts At Home

Stressing the importance of maintaining anonymity online and keeping accounts and files secured should start with parental guidance at home. Establishing trust between you and your teenager is the most vital step in making sure they’re using the Internet appropriately and protecting themselves. As a parent, you must keep tabs on the apps your teen is using and who they’re interacting with online.

This becomes more difficult the older your teen gets with the more privileges they earn. But gradually increasing their exposure to online games or social media can help you ensure they’re listening to your guidance as well as prepare them for adulthood, when you won’t be there to advise them.

If you and your teen have a trusting relationship, it should be rather easy for you to communicate about what’s happening with their accounts and activity online. As your teen matures, this may decrease, but they should be armed with the knowledge necessary to maintain their cybersecurity.

Also make sure you discuss with them the importance of avoiding cyberbullying and how it can affect others, and encourage them to bring any evidence of it to your attention. Reporting the bullying messages or comments and protecting your teen from any attacks can help avoid any future mental health effects it may have.

Talking Points

Ask them frequently about who they’re talking to in social apps, and explain why they shouldn’t accept requests or messages from people they don’t know in real life. Also encourage them to immediately notify you if anything seems out of the ordinary with their accounts, and to always change passwords at least every 90 days.

If your teen is new to using the Internet, frequently check their accounts and activity to keep tabs on the information they’re sharing and who they’re interacting with. Also keep in mind that many teens will have multiple social media accounts to try to confuse their parents.

The most important thing when trying to maintain transparency is explaining the reasons why you’re concerned about their cyber security. Traffickers will find victims on social media; pedophiles will pretend to be someone they’re not and strike up a relationship with teens online; gaming and other apps can share your teen’s location with strangers; pornographers may try to gain your teen’s trust so they can eventually request graphic images or video from them to disperse online; and hackers can gain access to accounts and cause everything from financial hardship to ruined reputations.

Cyber security has never before been such an important subject to discuss with your teenagers. Past generations had less access and sometimes no access, but today it’s an everyday occurrence for school work and extra-curricular activity. Ensuring they understand the importance of maintaining their privacy and not interacting with or sharing their location and other information with people they don’t know in real life is vitally important, too. As a parent, the best thing you can do is build a strong foundation of trust with your teen and gauge their maturity level and readiness for more freedom when working or playing online before giving them permission to utilize games and social media apps.

How to Protect Kids and Teens from Identity Theft

As a parent there are so many things you need to worry about to keep your kids safe, now there is another. Did you know that identity theft of kids and teens is on the rise? Just in 2016 alone, the FTC received 15,000 complaints of identity theft of a minor and in 2017 more than 1 million kids have their identities stolen.

Roughly 4% of all the cases reported in a year affect kids and teens. Unfortunately it quite easy for someone to steal a kid’s identity. Generally, it begins when a criminal takes your child’s social security number.

Why Do Thieves Use Children’s Identities

The top reason thieves target children with identity theft is that they have perfect credit. Adults can legally apply for credit, and usually do so. In turn, an adult can have either a great credit score, or a less-than-perfect credit score. Rather than take the gamble on whether or not a person has a good credit score, thieves target children. Kids don’t have mortgages or default loans or any credit card debt. It’s like grabbing a clean slate and using it all up before anyone finds out. Children are also easy targets because it may be years before the fraud is detected and they start to use their own identity.

How Thieves Use Children’s Identities

Criminals use kids’ identities for loans, renting property, applying for government benefits, and opening bank and credit card accounts. The most common method is when the thief steals your child’s social security number and then uses it with a different birth date. This process is known as creating a “synthetic identity.” Most the victim knows the identity thief. 22% of the time the identity theft is perpetrated by a parent, stepparent, sibling or other relatives.

The worst part is that criminals can get away with it for years as it usually goes unnoticed until the child is an adult and applies for credit. Identity theft hurts college kids chances of getting into school, applying for internships and obtaining their own real credit. Once their identity has been used and sullied, it is harder to clean up.

Protection and Prevention Tips

Like with many things, it is easier to prevent the problem than to fix it after it has happened.

Thankfully the government is taking notice of this issue and has started penning laws protecting underage people from identity theft. In the meantime, as a parent, there is a lot you can do to protect your child and prevent identity theft.

Tip 1 – Protect Your Child’s Social Security Number

Never give out your child’s social security number to anyone who doesn’t need it. Although places like schools, extracurricular activities, and even medical offices may ask for it, they don’t need it. They are not offering your child credit and limiting access to your child’s SSN is the best defense against this type of crime.

Tip 2 – Review the Safety of Your Child’s School Information

Pay attention to privacy policies and find out how your child’s school safeguards the personal information they store on students. Consult with their security team and even the IT department to ensure your kid’s data is safe.

Tip 3 – Secure Your Kid’s and Teen’s Mobile Devices

Personal information can be stolen easily from mobile devices that are not adequately secured. Teach your kids how to create complex, safe passwords and always use them. Don’t forget to teach your kids about these types of scams, along with phishing emails and never to click on links they receive.

Tip 4 – Be Careful and Monitor Social Media

Teach your child how to use the Internet and be safe online. Be careful what you and your kids post on social media. Monitor their posts and tweets to make sure they are not oversharing or communicating with a stranger who could be an identity thief trying to steal their information.

Tip 5 – Get a Copy of Your Child’s Credit Report

You can quickly get a copy of your child’s credit report at any time to see if there is any activity. Bank loans, credit cards and other things that show up will indicate someone is using their social security number. You will need to take swift action to repair the damage.

How to Fix It, if it Happens To You

If you find out your child’s identity has been stolen take the steps below as quickly as possible to resolve it before they need to use their credit.

  1. Contact all the major credit reporting agencies and ask them to remove all the credit information, inquiries, accounts and everything associated with that social security number.
  2. Next, contact every business that is associated with those accounts like banks, credit cards and other places the credit was used.
  3. Ask each creditor to place a “fraud alert” on the account.
  4. Contact the FTC and file a fraud report. You can also call them at 877-438-4338.
  5. If any of the accounts were used for medical expenses or involve taxes, you would also need to contact the police.

Internet Filtering for Home and Schools

internet safety for families

At Safe Search for Kids, we welcome the use of our internet filtering tools to ensure that safe browsing on Google is always set to the most secure level of search filtering. This needs to be the case whether Google Safe Search is being used at home or on every computer in school.

To ensure the ultimate in internet safety for kids, we also encourage the use of internet filtering software to give parental control over how kids access the internet. This is not to be confused with Internet Security Software that protects your computer against viruses.

Before we speak to the various options online for filtering and security, here is what Safe Search Kids offers and it’s limitations.

If easy access to internet filtering tools without software, just go to the top right corner of our website. You’ll see 4 tabs. The first one is for searching Google. It provides the same results as Google, but with strict internet filtering. In essence, as long as you are searching from our website and the results page that follows your initial search, all bad content is filtered. Subsequently, the other tabs do the same for images, wiki for kids and videos.

Internet Filtering Software?  Clearing Up the Confusion

There are four areas of online security that people need to be aware of. These are not presented as options, rather – they each offer a different level of security and serve different purposes.

1. Anti-Virus Software: This is essential basic software that filters your email to protect your computer from becoming infected with a virus. No computer should be without this standard software. Many operating systems come with enough security to screen your email, such as on a Mac computer or Windows 10. Get added protection from programs like McAfee.

2. Anti-Malware: Includes the removal and full protection from malware infecting your computer. It blocks a variety of viruses and subversive malware from infecting your computer due to a cyber attack or in the event you accidentally visit an infected website. Malware Protection is an important addition to any anti-virus program you may choose to install and includes protection against Ransomware.

3. Parental Control Software: If you are concerned about protecting your kids from harmful online content, you need proper internet filtering that blocks access to the internet according to the age of each child in your home. Read about the specific benefits of Parental Control Software.

4. Safe Search for Kids: The filtering tool on our website is powered by Google to ensure safe search results for all keywords entered. It is a FREE solution when searching Google. While it will block search results for inappropriate search terms entered, it does not block access to other areas of the internet when kids leave our site. This is where internet filtering software should be explored.

5. VPN:  Short for Virtual Private Network, VPNs are not common to most families.  However, the security features of using a VPN are well worth exploring.  It protected against swatting for gamers as well as hackers who may want to invade your privacy, whether at home or when accessing the Internet in public.

Got a Gamer in the House?  They may complain about a slower gaming experience due to anti-virus software that bogs down their computer. A possible solution may be Game Security Software that includes increased performance for gamer with added security online.

The most popular option our users are most interested in are parental controls and it’s relation to internet filtering.

Parental Control Software Includes:

  • Content Controls – Flexible content control allows you to select the types of websites that are appropriate according to age.
  • Program Controls – Control Instant Messengers, P2P File Sharing, control of what apps can be downloaded.
  • Time Controls – Control the amount of time spent online, and the times when the internet is available for each child.
  • Usage Logging – Create and review logs of websites visited, programs used on the Internet.
  • Usage Alerts – Be notified instantly via email or text message when someone visits inappropriate websites.
  • All of these monitoring resources can be accessed via a parental control app or on your desktop computer.

As mentioned, internet filtering is not the same as protecting your computer against viruses. To fully protect against viruses and online threats (such as malware on websites) you may also want to consider anti-malware as noted above for virus scanning and malware protection.

Choosing stand-alone filtering software greatly improves your kids internet safety and allows parents the ability to set the safety controls for each child according to their age and responsibility. Deleting search history won’t be enough for users to hide their activity.

Additional Solutions: Teaching Good Online Habits:

Software that features both accountability and internet filtering. What is the difference?

Accountability: When software is installed on any or all computers in your home, you will receive a report emailed to you weekly to show high risk website that were visited. This feature does not block content. It is meant for older kids and adults who know that the report will be viewed, and therefore builds good computer habits. The accountability report can be further generated to easily show sites according to various ratings, such as Teen, Mature Teen and Mature.

Web Filtering: This feature of the software filters the internet and blocks potentially harmful content. If offers complete parental controls to set internet filtering according to user age, as well as put timelines on how long a user can surfing the internet, as well as restrict hours of use. This software can also be applied to applications and phones.

So what about our website – Safe Search Kids? How do we  fit into the mix of providing internet safety for kids? For one, our site only restricts potentially harmful websites on Google while using our internet filtering tools. Our website simply allows for added security for those who are not installing software filtering.

Safe Search Kids is ideal for schools who want to implement safe search filtering instantly without having to painstakingly turn on safe search within the settings of each computer. This is done by bookmarking our home page.

Parental control software programs enable you to block internet access in the following ways that Google Safe Search on our website cannot.

  • Software programs filter all access the internet regardless of device or search engine being used.
  • It gives parents control of social media use and app downloads according to custom account settings.
  • Provides reports for searches, instant messages, keywords entered and controls screen time.

Should I Use Additional Safe Search Filtering Software?

It is important to note that Google safe search is not perfect. We strive to provide a healthy balance between screening out illicit material and providing quality search results. For this reason, the ultimate in security can only be achieved with the use of parental control software. This is difficult and costly in a school setting where you have hundreds of computers, which is why Safe Search Kids is a good step towards a safer online environment on a broader level.

When you have control over 1 or 2 computers in your home, it becomes a viable option to consider filtering software options to protect kids, as well as your computer from viruses. The cost is minimal and gives the user much more control over what keywords are filtered out.

The important thing is to do your research and compare all the pros and cons, including costs, before proceeding.  Of course, no search filter can replace parental supervision when it comes to children on the internet – even when safe search is turned on – but every little bit helps.

More About Our Website:  Safe Search Kids Article Categories

Social Media SafetyOnline Safety for Kids | BullyingEducation
Parenting | Articles for KidsInternet Filtering & Security

In addition to parents and teachers, older kids such as teens would find many articles within these categories of interest. The categories names “Improve Your World” and “Stuff for Your Brain” contain many areas of interest for younger kids.  Parents and educators may want to direct their kids to read these articles as part of their education.

You can access our recent posts in the center column. To read an article, clicking the “read more” button. You’ll find sharing tools at the bottom of each post. As you scroll down, we feature a longer list or our more poplar articles, as well as posts related to internet security and online safety to the left of the page near the bottom. You’ll also see that there are articles written just for kids. To search for a specific article topic, our website search tool can be found near the bottom right of our website.

At the very bottom, you will find direct links to our individual search pages related to safe image search, wiki for kids and safe videos. Why would you use these? Basically, if a teacher wanted to post a ‘safe image search link’ on their teacher page, clicking this link below will bring them to the url that will always feature safe image search by default. The same goes for wiki for kids and safe videos.

We encourage you to browse our articles for helpful topics, and of course, bookmark Safe Search for Kids for strict filtering on Google – on every computer in your home or at school.

Are There Parental Controls for YouTube? 2021

youtube parental controls

We are happy to offer a video filtering tool at the top of our website, but what if your child or teen is searching YouTube from a regular browser or smart phone? Fortunately, parental controls are now available on YouTube using a Google account.

Even though YouTube contains questionable material regardless of filtering, there are ways to make it a little safer. For a better video search experience for kids, explore our safe video search resource.

In this article you will learn how to turn on Restricted Mode (formally called Safety Mode) and more importantly – how to lock it. This does not mean it will provide 100% safety when searching videos on YouTube, but it will help filter out the worst content.

You may also want to consider using a parental control app to block access to all bad areas of the internet, including YouTube.

How to Activate Parental Controls When Searching Directly on YouTube.com

In the past, you could only turn on safe search for Google’s regular search results to ensure safe browsing. After many requests from parents and educators, YouTube now has parental controls so you can implement YouTube Safe Search in your browser when searching from youtube.com.

To implement the Restricted Mode for YouTube, go to YouTube.com and scroll down to the bottom of the page….

You will see a reference to Restricted Mode: Off...

Click the drop down arrow and details about ‘restricted mode’ will appear…

Clicking On followed by the Save button will activate ‘Restricted Mode’ but will not lock it.youtube parental controls restricted mode

Locking YouTube Safe Search

As you will see, it’s very easy to turn safe search on and off. Therefore, you may want to lock it in order to ensure it is always activated for all family members.

To Lock the Parental Control for YouTube, you will need a Google account. To open a free Google account, go to google.com and click “Sign In” in the top right hand corner of their main website. You will then see the option to create a new account.

Now return to YouTube (while signed into your account) and scroll down to the bottom of the page to the Restricted Mode link.

After selecting the “On” button, you will see an option to Save. Then log out of your account.

youtube restricted mode

Restricted Mode is now activated you can now log out of your account. Unlocking restricted mode on YouTube will require you to log into your account. This guarantees that no one else can deactivate the safety setting.

Important: If you have more than one browser on your computer, you will need to follow these steps for each browser. Below is a video that walks you through the process of implementing YouTube Parental Controls that were just explained.  For safe mobile solutions, try our safe search app.

Remember, locking YouTube will stop the worst content but not all videos that you personally may see as unfit for younger viewers.

Watch this Video for Step By Step Instructions to Lock YouTube Safe Search

Even with parental controls activated, many parents and educators find YouTube inappropriate for their kids. Our safe video tab on the top of our website offers strict filtering of videos from a variety of safe sources.

Learn more about how parents can limit internet access through internet filtering.