The increasing number of kids using social media platforms and Android devices makes them vulnerable to online predators, cyber-bullying, identity theft and malware.
â€œOn social media, the main threats children face are fake profiles, exposure to pornographic content and cyber-bulling that even triggers suicidal behavior,â€ said Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi. â€œKids are tricked by scammers with phony applications such as â€˜Guess who saw your profileâ€™ and â€˜freeâ€™ vouchers that lead to fraud and malware attacks.â€
More recently, kids are vulnerable to online predators who abuse the new Facebook Graph Search feature. With the social network admitting â€œminors can appear in search results,â€ kidsâ€™ personal data may be targeted by criminals for nefarious purposes.
Some popular Android apps aimed at kids such as Tic Tac Toe Kids or Chef Cook Mania harbor aggressive adware capable of tracking and profiling children and hitting them regularly with unwanted advertising.
Here are some tips and tricks for parents who want an active part in their childrenâ€™s on- and offline life:
- Put the family computer in a place where you can keep an eye on the monitor.
- When children create social media accounts, help them use privacy protection features. Encourage them to restrict the information exposed, and make sure they know their online friends in real life.
- Set some rules regarding computer use with your children. Talk with them about why you are concerned.
- Advise your children not to respond to spam, instants messages or e-mails with obscene or aggressive content.
- Advise your kids to be careful installing Android apps. Some contain aggressive adware and malware capable of sending messages to premium numbers. Install games and other Android apps only from official market places.
- Use antivirus software with Parental Control that watches over kids online. Bitdefender Parental Control is available as a standalone application or included in Bitdefender Internet Security and Bitdefender Total Security. Parental control blocks inappropriate content, restricts Web access between certain hours, and helps parents remotely monitor their children’s online activity.
With Bitdefender Parental Control, parents can also block suspicious contacts on their kidsâ€™ mobile devices, in addition to monitoring SMS and calls. The application also monitors social network activities, from new friend requests to posted comments, pictures, and videos, to changes in privacy settings.