Tech Trends That Will Make the Internet a Safe Place

Tech Trends for Safe Kids Internet

Children nowadays access the Internet daily for school or pastime starting from a very young age. And since they might be too young to understand potential threats and consequences of their actions, parents, educators, and online service providers are obligated to step in and make the Internet a safe place for kids.

If you’re a parent, you already know that keeping children safe in the ‘Internet of Things’ era is an uphill task. However, technological advancement doesn’t only mean more risks or dangers for children online or in an educational setting at school.

Here are some technological trends that are making the Internet a safer place for children.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things or IoT, in short, enables a seamless connection between multiple devices. In a broader sense, everyday devices contain sensors and stream data to and from the Internet.

Ironically, many IoT devices like baby monitors and smart toys have gone from a way to protect children to devices that could put them at significant risk.

Regulatory bodies are continuously making efforts to impose safety standards on manufacturers of such devices and toys. These regulations call for stronger protocols and encryption and more options available in parental controls so that parents can filter out questionable content and the amount or nature of data being collected.

Using apps that sync across devices, parents can access and control many of these devices from a distance. This is greatly beneficial for monitoring which data is being exchanged, through which channels, and ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands (or ears). It makes it easy for parents and educators to keep an eye on children’s activities both online and offline.

User and Entity Behavior Analytics

Online parenting forums are awash with hacking incidents where passwords and usernames fall into the wrong hands. Once a hacker gains access to your account or device, they can waltz in and do as they please.

Unfortunately, not all breaches are detected fast enough to prevent damage or data leaks. This is especially problematic if personal data of children are involved.

In the future, such incidents should create less worry for parents, though.

One of the latest advancements in cybersecurity is User Behavior Analytics (UBA). The technology uses data analytics to identify anomalous user behavior and alerts administrators about suspicious activities.

UBA uses machine learning technologies to “learn” about a user’s normal and regular activity pattern. It can then differentiate between a legitimate user’s activity and an attacker who has gained entry by compromising log-in credentials if these activities don’t fit the norm of the legitimate user.

While UBA is still only in the realm of large organizations, its ability to quickly detect and respond to unusual activities in places that children frequently visit makes it a viable solution for minimizing future data breaches and leaks.

Multifactor Authentication

Many applications, websites, and devices use Multifactor Authentication or MFA in short, to improve account security and protect against identity theft. Technically, MFA refers to any system where a user must use at least two authentication forms to access a device, an application, or a website.

If your children use devices or applications, you’ll find MFA handy. Immediately after you log into a device with your username and password, the account server will prompt you to provide a second and independent authentication form.

It’s more or less what happens when bank security asks to see your social security card even though your funds are already secure.

MFA’s concept is that it’s difficult to pretend you’re someone you’re not when you have to prove who you are in different ways repeatedly.

If you’re monitoring how often your child uses a device, MFA will make it hard for your child to use the device even after getting their hands on the device without your approval. Most importantly, it will help keep out those that shouldn’t have access to it in the first place.

AI and ML

AI, along with IoT and other emerging technologies like ML, are continuing to change how we use the Internet. Nearly all modern devices that enter the market are IoT enabled. This includes not only smartphones but also TVs and gaming consoles, as well as almost all Virtual Reality gaming setups.

Together, these technologies are shaping a safer Internet environment for children. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning come complete with advanced language processing abilities. That means that unsafe content can easily be filtered out.

As an example, such technology enables fast image processing that analyses the content of the image and then interferes before a child can see it.

Recently, Instagram updated its filters to remove comments intended to upset or harass its users automatically. The new filter hides negative comments about a person’s character, appearance, and any other content that poses a threat to a user’s physical health and well-being.

Wrap Up

The Internet is an exciting place, but is it really safe? Can you, as a parent, allow your children to use it unsupervised? The answer is probably a resounding no. There are apps available to monitor internet activity in your home and on your child’s phone. 

Online safety is a continuous battle that never ends. Malicious attacks, inappropriate content, and data theft methods continue to evolve along with the technologies intended to prevent them.

So what can a busy parent do? The answer lies in taking advantage of tech trends designed to prevent malicious content from showing up in searches.

Using safe environments such as Safe Search for Kids, YouTube Kids, and implementing all available mechanisms to filter out inappropriate content on devices is a start. Tech progress and trends like some of these mentioned here will contribute to making the Internet a safer place for kids.

About the author:

Ashley WilsonAshley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialized in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.


Nimble Numbers

Do They Tell the Truth in Advertising?

Numbers will scream at you all your life. “9 out of 10 dentists recommend Sparkle tooth paste.” “70% of people prefer dogs over cats.” “66.6% of all girls prefer the color purple over the color pink.” Websites and textbooks and advertisers often have numbers for everything. But are those numbers always true?

Those numbers are most commonly found by asking people to answer a question with one or two answers (a poll) or a series of questions with a larger choice of answers (a survey). By asking the right questions, polls and surveys can get answers that don’t quite tell the truth.

Let’s look at advertisers who use dentists to sell a dental product. And imagine that you’ve just invented a brand new tooth paste that tastes like candy floss. You take samples to ten dentists and ask them if they would recommend it to their clients.

The dentists try the tooth paste and, while other tooth pastes they know would be better at dental care, they see nothing wrong with Candy Floss Paste. They know that some kids don’t like brushing their teeth and think that maybe they would be more likely to brush if the paste tasted like candy floss. Nine give you the recommendation.

The tenth thinks, “Well, this won’t hurt anyone, but other brands work better and still taste good.” He doesn’t give you a recommendation.

Still, you can brag that 9 out of 10 dentists recommended your paste. But what if you had given the dentists your paste as well as one of the most effective and yummy-tasting brands and asked which they would recommend? Think about it—then think about whether or not 9 out of 10 is really the truth.

Another way numbers can lie is found in who you ask.

Imagine you stand outside a dog show and ask all the people coming in to watch the show: “Do you prefer dogs or cats?” Of course, most of the people will say they prefer dogs. After all, they are going to a dog show. If you want to get a poll that says more people prefer cats, take your poll outside of a cat show.

You might think this is an obvious example, but consider that many polls and surveys take place in your favorite shopping mall. Teenagers in a mall would be more likely to say yes to the question: “Do you plan on buying a new cell phone in the next year?” If you asked that same question in front of a senior citizen’s home, what do you think the results would be?

Now think about how you would get 66.6% of girls to say they preferred purple over pink. Here’s one way: Go to a schoolyard or mall and look for girls wearing purple. Ask them if they prefer purple over pink. If they are wearing purple, chances are very good that they will say that they prefer purple over pink. One, though, might prefer pink but didn’t have an clean pink shirt to wear that day.

Here’s another way. Get a celebrity or a person who resembles a popular singer. Dress that person in an expensive, cool purple shirt or dress. Studies have shown that people will give poll responses that they hope will get the approval of the attractive person asking the question. That answer might not be the truth, but it might help make purple more popular.

Next time you see a commercial or read a news story with a percentage in it, think about that number. More importantly, think about how that number was created. That number might not be as true as it sounds.

We’ve explored claims made in advertising.  Now, let’s explore statements of fact made in the news stories.

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