As I write this, a predator is out there somewhere looking for his next victim. This is not an attempt at an alarmist dramatization of a dystopian future. This is yesterday’s newspaper. It is the evening news from two days ago, two months ago, two years ago, and as far back ago as there have been people reporting the news.
The only thing different is the degree to which we have all become complicit in making it so easy to seek victims. Criminals have never had it easier. We voluntarily wear tracking devices and point arrows to where we are going to be at any particular moment.
We as parents have failed to teach our kids the value of privacy, and the rules of propriety. We have sold personal boundaries for a handful of free online services and cheap gadgets. We have helped to create the drastic times in which we now live. Here are some of the drastic measures that are called for:
Put the Breaks on Social Media
When Facebook was first conceived, it was exclusively for college students. Even college students demonstrate poor social IQ at times. The trouble college students get into due to questionable social judgement is the stuff of comedy and tragedy.
We are now giving our preteens unfettered accesses to this kind of social network. This is madness. And the madness must stop. One home security firm states that staying off social media keeps you safer. They write:
There are many factors at play when it comes to why we’re posting so much of our lives on Facebook and elsewhere but the end result is the same: We are making ourselves vulnerable without even realizing we’re doing it.
Home security experts are in a unique position to know. They don’t make money when your house is robbed. They make money when your house is kept safe over the long course of it being monitored by their system. They have a vested interest in helping their clients stay safe. When they warn against social media sharing, we all should listen.
Buy a More Secure Smartphone
Stop buying your kids cheap, insecure smartphones. It is no secret that people with forensic-level skills can spoof a fingerprint. That, however, is not a concern for iPhone users because those devices are hardware encrypted out of the box, and software is in place to limit attempts.
The Verge reports that this was not the case with a recent Samsung smartphone unlocked with a 2D paper image of a fingerprint:
Fortunately for the team, the phone in question did not require a passcode after failed fingerprint attempts, allowing Jain and his colleagues to keep trying options indefinitely.
Google is starting to build better security into Android. And that is a good thing for their customers. For some companies, security is little more than a marketing ploy. For you as parents, it has to be something more.
You need to provide your kids with secure devices. And you need to lock them down with fingerprints, iris scans, 6-digit passcodes, and be sure it is all limited to only a few tries before locking itself down. If a phone is too cheap to have a good security model, they are too cheap for your kids.
As a parent, the most radical thing you can do for the safety of your kids is to get involved and be proactive. The best internet safety tips involve parents becoming active participants in the process.
As a parent, it is not enough that they know all the people they befriend on social media, you should also know who they are. Play online games with them and talk to them about appropriate interactions with other gamers.
Two-thirds of online users will fall victim to cybercrime. It’s time for drastic measures. Put the breaks on social media. Get a more secure smartphone. and get involved.