Category: Internet Filtering & Security

Parent’s Guide to Social Networking for Gamers

Parent’s Guide to Social Networking for Gamers

Social gaming networks are now the primary way gamers play and interact with each other. Playing video games online with others provide fun and improve social skills as gamers need to connect, engage in discussions, and share strategies.  It also helps develop team player skills.

However, social networking for gamers poses some risks to cyber security as anyone can contact other gamers there. In this way, online predators can potentially harass your children and teenagers. Cyberbullying is also an issue with kids play with those who are not kind.

This blog aims to guide parents so they can ensure safe gaming on social platforms for their children by following some important safety tips.

Different Social Gaming Platforms

There are different social gaming platforms, each with its own rules, chat room, privacy, strategy, etc. Most social games are designed for education and fun. Each game developer team invests a lot to promote these games to mass people.

Popular platforms for social gaming and networking are as follows:

  • Stream
  • PlayStation Network
  • Xbox Live
  • Nintendo Network
  • Discord
  • Twitch
  • Google Play Games
  • Gameloft Live
  • Game Center.

Risks of Social Networking and Gaming

41% of parents say their children chat with other known and unknown gamers through live streaming while playing social games. But 64% of parents consider online gaming and networking as the same risks to post something on social media.

There is no doubt that there are some risks of social gaming that parents should consider before allowing their children to play these games.

  • Online safety is a major concerning issue. While gamers are playing games on social media they may chat with unknown people. Most multiplayer games allow joining anyone of this platform, which is very risky. So, there is a high chance that children may be bullied.
  • Not all games on social platforms are safe for children as some of them point to adult content that could be harmful to them.
  • It’s also important to consider what the children learn from these games. Each parents needs to decide what they will allow their child to be exposed to, such as violence or games with criminal activity.

Tips to Prevent the Risks of Social Networking for Gamers

There are almost 2.8 billion gamers globally, and the majority of them were children and teenagers. The number is increasing. With the rise of gamers on social platform, the rate of cybercrimes is also increasing alarmingly.

As a parent, you can do the following things to make social networking in gaming quite safer for the children.

1. Know About the Game

Before allowing any game you should read its reviews, safety features, age limit, and other things about the game. Try to understand the games that children have access to. Learn about the features and how they work, and familiarize yourself with the platform’s safety and privacy settings.

2. Educate Children

It’s important to educate your children about the basics of internet safety and risks. This includes:

  • Educate children not to share personal information on social media gaming networks. Tell them not to share sensitive information such as your full name, address, phone number, financial information, etc.
  • Teach your children not to connect or have conversations with unknown people. Social media gaming networks are a breeding ground for online predators. Be aware of whom they’re talking to.
  • Tell them to report to the platform’s moderators of the social media gaming network if any suspicious or harmful things come up. They have the tools to take action that can help protect your kids.
  • Teach your children to avoid spam messages or links from unknown sources, as they could be phishing scams. Clicking on these links could be harmful to them.

3. Privacy Settings

Most social media gaming networks have privacy settings from where you can do some controls. This includes;

  • Control who can see your children’s profiles, what information is visible, and who can chat with them. These settings will protect the information.
  • Some social platforms allow you blocking of inappropriate or adult content. If there aren’t such features, keep your children away from these platforms.
  • You can also set time limits so kids can’t get engrossed in the virtual world.

4. Parental Control

Most reliable social gaming platforms have parental control features. Use these controls to limit your child’s exposure to inappropriate content or interactions with strangers. Moreover, you can take quick action if any bad things happen to go.

5. Use Anti-Malware Software

You can install good anti-malware software on your child’s device. This will help protect your kids from malware and other cyber threats.

Internet Safety and Monitoring Friendships

Social Networking for Gamers

Social networking for gamers provides hours of engaging fun for people to connect and play with others one-on-one or within a team.  Kids and teens will delete friendships overtime and you may even find that they spend time online with their friends watching movies or simply chatting while they play games with others.  This is important to be aware of so that you can be involved with your child’s online activities through regular conversations with them.

It’s also vital that parents are within ear shot of their child’s online gaming activities. You may require that your child keeps their bedroom door always open while they are connected to the internet. This way you can hear conversations taking place online on a regular basis.  You will hear what your child is saying to their online gaming friends during game play and otherwise.

Any online activity poses potential risks of cyberbullying, identity theft, and your kids encountering unscrupulous people with ulterior motives.  Setting up building parental controls on gaming consoles and social media networks for gamers is the first step that parents need to take. Additional parental controls that monitor and filter all online activity is an add-on resource that will do the best job at keeping kids from harmful internet activity.

What should I do if I discover a data breach involving my children?

What to do if your family data is breached.

In order to understand the information in this article, you should be made familiar with the term “data subject”, which is the person to whom the data belongs. The data subject has legal rights that say how a company is allowed to use your data – for example, your address and name.

In this instance, the data subject will be your family and we will explain what counts as personal data.  In 2021, this happened 1,243 times, up from 1,120 in 2020. This resulted in 5.13 billion pieces of information containing sensitive data being accessed by people who should not see them.

Here, we explain what a data breach means, who is responsible for protecting your family’s data, and what the best steps to take are if data involving my children has been “breached” (viewed by someone not allowed to see it).

Who protects my data?

In the UK, the organisation that protects your family’s rights concerning personal data is called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

You may have heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the law that protects the data of European citizens. In the UK, the GDPR laws were largely copied and developed to protect our citizens. In UK law, this is known as the Data Protection Act 2018, and there are many similarities between them both.

The ICO states that anyone who handles personal data must follow a set of rules, which they call the “data protection principles.”

Any organisation that stores and uses personal data must make sure that the data is:

  • Used lawfully, fairly and openly (which means telling you exactly how they use it)
  • Used to reach goals clearly set out
  • Accurate
  • Not stored for longer than necessary
  • Well-protected, by adopting security steps to prevent the chance of the data being lost, destroyed, or damaged

The ICO takes seriously the protection of the privacy of personal information relating to:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Political beliefs
  • Religion
  • Union member position
  • Biometrics
  • Health
  • Sexual orientation

What does an organisation have to do if they notice a data breach?

If an organisation notices a breach, by law it must tell the ICO within 72 hours on the ICO website.

The 72-hour time limit begins when the organisation first notices the breach, not when the breach actually occurred. If the ICO is not notified, there is very little chance the data will ever be recovered, meaning that it will be lost forever.

If you find out that there was a breach in an organisation that stores your family’s data, asking for expert help from solicitors who specialise in data breaches can make sure that the breach of your data is fully investigated and that the necessary steps were taken to react to the breach. Often, if the organisation was found to not have protected data well enough, or used someone’s personal data inappropriately, they may owe compensation to the data subject affected.

How can you prove that your data was used unfairly?

Proving that an organisation used your family’s data unfairly is possible. However, you can keep a log of the events surrounding the breach, as it could help to build your case that your data was used unfairly.

Keeping a log should include a timeline of the following:

  • What happened to the data (for example, did you or your children send it to the organisation or fill in a form?)
  • Who was involved in the data sharing?
  • How did you find out the data was breached?
  • What has been done since finding out?

The “data controller” – the organisation storing your family’s data – will also have to keep a similar log. If the ICO has a complete picture of the facts surrounding the breach, it can react better and more efficiently.

Contain the data breach

Finding out what happened to breached data is essential and can limit any spread. The data controller must follow security steps to protect anybody who could be exposed to future security breaches.

In some cases, you can also take action to minimise the damage of the breach. For example:

  • If your family’s sensitive data was accidentally sent to someone, you can simply ask that they delete it or send it back safely.
  • Trace your or your child’s steps to pinpoint where the breach began
  • If you can remotely delete data or erase a device of its data, do so immediately.

Why you should know your rights

As a data subject, you should get in touch with the organisation that stores your family’s data directly if you believe it has been used unfairly or not kept secure, so they can respond appropriately. If you are unhappy with the business’s response or think that more should be done to respond to a breach, you should get in touch with the ICO.

Do I have a claim for damages following a data breach?

The organisation in charge of maintaining the data may be held liable and ordered to pay compensation. Usually, this involves the sharing of private information that is not already in the “public domain” (it is available to the public as a whole), such as sensitive financial or medical data.

The ICO has the authority to look into data breaches and try to identify the parties legally responsible. An ICO ruling that finds that the data controller unfairly used or stored data can result in the victim being paid compensation.

A data subject does not have to go through the ICO or wait for the results of its investigation to make a data breach compensation claim.

Often, organisations at fault for a breach might try to minimise their responsibilities to recover the data they have lost or share details of the breach. This is another reason why many families who are victims of a personal data breach find that getting help from legal experts with knowledge of data breaches makes sure that their legal rights are respected.

By Stuart Snape, Managing Partner at Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors

7 Internet Safety Tips for Parents And Kids

Internet Safety Tips for Parents And Kids

Parenting allows you to look at life from a different perspective. When you have kids, you start noticing the details in everything! While the danger of the online world and the importance of internet safety may have never occurred to you, becoming a parent has changed you!

After all, it’s a dangerous world out there! Of course, keeping your kid safe is your responsibility, but it’s possible when you have the knowledge. It’s also important to equip your child for online safety as well.

According to the FBI, taking the right security measures can prevent online crimes.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents And Kids

Whether you use the internet or your kids, you must follow safety precautions. It’s always best to be on the safe side.

Consider the following;

1.   Never Share Passwords

While you want to keep easy passwords, you must not share them with others. It’s best not to tell your kids. You never know if they innocently share it with friends or other family members. So, keep the passwords safe and change the email password regularly, especially if you feel something isn’t right!

Tell your kids not to share the wifi password. You never know who can use the internet and visit websites that are not safe! Also, avoid using financial accounts when you are using public wifi.

Talk to your kids about keeping passwords safe. If your children have accounts on any website, tell them not to share the information with anyone.

2.   Don’t Post Kids And School Image Online

You don’t want the predators to know where your child studies. It’s best to avoid posting your kids’ images on social media. If kids are attending a party, let the parents know that you don’t allow sharing your child’s image on social media.

It’s all about keeping yourself and your kids safe in the online world. So, when using social media, make sure you are not sharing information about your kid’s school.

3.   Don’t Discuss Your Private Life Online

Keep your private life private! While there is a trend of sharing each detail online, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people prefer privacy and don’t want to discuss their private life publicly.

Why share family matters online when you can discuss them peacefully at home? Keep your friends list private on social media. Don’t add everyone who sends a friend request.

Suggest the same to your kids. But, of course, they also must not share their private life on social media or gaming platforms!

4.   Consider Privacy Settings And Parental Control

Internet Safety Tips

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to consider the privacy settings and parental control. Look into the settings and make sure you switch on the privacy settings on your laptop and other smart devices. Installing parental control apps on mobile devices, especially iPad and tablets is equally important. Tools like these can monitor, filter, and track your child’s phone activities. Learn how to use the privacy settings if you are unsure. There would be YouTube tutorials to guide you, or you can ask someone for help!

5.   Never Share Personal Information

Teach your kids not to share personal information online. When kids play games at the beginner level, they may not be aware of the rules and regulations.

You never know who is on the other side of online games. So, talk to your kids about the importance of protecting personal information.

The kids must inform you if a stranger asks for a name, date of birth, or information about the bank details, and even the home address.

6.   Keep Yourself Updated About Online World

It’s best to educate yourself about the online world. For example, Artificial Intelligence is an exciting topic, and there is talk about Web 3.0. People are talking about the virtual world!

You have noticed how the world has changed in the past few years. Businesses are moving online. So, you need to educate yourself about the current world to keep pace with the fast-changing world.

With proper knowledge, it’s easier to differentiate right from wrong.

7.   Have An Open Discussion About Internet Safety

Establish internet rules at home. Use a common laptop or smart device. Everyone must use the internet on this device. Print the rules for using the internet, which would act as a reminder for the child and the parent.

Discuss the pros and cons of the internet with your children. When you have a strong relationship with your kid, discussing the dangers of the online world will be easy.

Wrapping It Up

Parents and kids must responsibly use the internet. Never share passwords, personal information, address, school, or kid’s image online. Have an open discussion about internet safety, and never discuss your private life online. Consider privacy settings and parental control. And keep yourself updated about the online world!

6 Security Measures to Help Improve School Safety

How to Improve School Safety

School administrators consider safety a priority for the school’s students and staff. They ensure that students have a safe environment to grow, learn, and thrive. Similarly, teachers must feel safe while at work. That’s because emergencies can happen in schools even during school hours.

Unfortunately, there’s no way one can predict when fires, earthquakes, or intrusions can occur. As such, the best thing school administration officers can do is to implement stringent safety and security measures.

While it’s considered a standard to have security measures up in place in many learning institutions, it’s still worth taking a look at how else you can improve your school’s safety. That said, here are seven security measures you can consider:

Streamline School Access Process

While you want to keep intruders out of the school, you must also ensure authorized individuals can quickly gain access to the premises. This means students, teachers, other school staff, and authorized visitors don’t need to jump through hoops just to enter or exit the school grounds. You can easily police the flow of people by limiting access to the designated entry and egress points.

For example, you can issue digital cards in personalized lanyards to authorized people so they have access to entry points or areas that needs to be secure. These access control cards can also serve as school identification and can log students, staff, and visitors’ attendance and the time they entered the premises.

Install a Monitoring System

Aside from limiting access to only authorized individuals, it’s also a good idea to monitor all access points through security cameras. Installing security cameras in entry and exit points and secured areas provides you with visual references of who comes in and out of the building. Also, be mindful of the placement of security cameras so you can fully take advantage of them.

Place the security cameras at all entry points to the school whether they’re high-traffic or low-traffic areas such as main entrances, fire exits, and other access points. Then, have a security staff member monitor the videos and keep the video recordings for at least 30 days. The recordings can be reviewed in case of incidents.

Enhance Communication System

Having a public address (PA) system in place is very useful for regular and emergency communications. It’s easier to call the attention of specific individuals during busy class hours as well as announce important reminders to everyone in school. During emergencies like fires and earthquakes, the PA system can help guide staff and students on what to do.

Aside from the PA system, you also need to consider how students or teachers in classrooms can communicate with other staff during a crisis. If, for example, there’s a medical emergency, the staff’s mobile phones can be very helpful in getting immediate assistance. Alternatively, distress alarms can be just as handy. These aren’t like fire alarms that inform the fire department but are silent alarms that call for help. If this is something you’re considering, factor in where the alarm will be heard and who will be the responders. It’s also a good idea if the distress alarm can communicate where the emergency is happening so responders will be able to reach the location quickly.

Keep the School’s Exterior Well-Lit

Another way to improve school security is keeping the exterior well-lit. It can maintain the visibility of students and school staff during school hours. Additional illumination can also help identify individuals who are on the school premises. As such, it’s important to switch on basic exterior lights in the evening, especially at the different access points. It can help deter potential intruders and make them more identifiable in security videos should they do anything malicious.

Secure the School’s Perimeter

One way to protect your students and staff is to secure the school’s perimeter. Install gates, fences, and screens around the school to secure the property from potential intruders. As an added security measure, consider installing security doors and windows. They can serve as a barrier against intruders while keeping a visual of what’s going on outside.

Train the Students and School Staff about Emergency Procedures

Another method to improve school safety is by educating students and school staff about the different emergency procedures you have in place. Informing them of plans for various scenarios such as earthquakes, fires, or in case of attacks can help everyone know what to do during such an event. School staff also become aware of their responsibilities should emergencies arise.

It’s also a good idea to conduct training and emergency drills so everyone can practice the necessary procedures and be more familiar with them. Additionally, regularly review the emergency plans and remind everyone. You can either choose to educate them at the start of each semester as this is the time you may have new students or staff joining.

Implementing security measures ensures that your school is a safe place for students and teachers alike. But you shouldn’t just stop there. Continuously look for improvements so you can be prepared for different emergencies and potential threats. Consider the suggestions mentioned above and prioritize the safety and welfare of every person inside its premises.

Does Your School Have an Emergency Plan?

Watch the video on emergency preparedness:

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