Random Thoughts

Keeping our children secure and safe on the Internet

I had to share this -  it's important, it's relevant and it's practical advice. No need to waste money on 3rd party devices or software to protect your kids. It's something you CAN and SHOULD do yourself.

Troy Hunt posted this on twitter and facebook this week. I have added some emphasis.

I shared the following thread on Twitter the other day and it had a heap of traction so I want to socialise it here as well, particularly for friends with kids. I've seen these products being pushed by schools to Kylie Hunt and other parents and without naming names (yet), there's a bunch of absolute rubbish out there. At the very least, start by understanding what controls your operating system of choice gives you as a parent without resorting to placing your trust in third parties, even if the school recommends them because frankly, they're not real switched on to being with. The last thing you want is me ending up with your kids photos, messages and voice recordings after someone finds them all floating around the internet and sends them to me - and that's already happened *many* times before!

I've been looking at a bunch of kid-related devices and services lately, mostly relating to how parents can monitor and control their activities. It's just consistently horrifyingly bad; FUD-ridden at best, massive privacy violations at worst (i.e. data accessible to the public).

The problem is that you've got a bunch of technically illiterate parents (understandable) being pushed things by schools that are influenced by marketers (much less understandable) and built with near zero focus on security (inexcusable).

You worried about your kids online? Talk to them. Browse the web with them. Introduce them to the wonders of the web on your terms and *physically* monitor them (you know, like exist together in the same room for a bit).

And accept that they're going to see porn. They're going to swear in chats. They're going to talk to people you don't like. And 90%+ of the time, they're more technically adept than their parents and will know how to hide it and circumvent the parental controls.

I'll talk to my kids all day long about this stuff, but I'll never install the sorts of software or buy the kinds of tracking devices I keep seeing peddled. These things are consistently absolute rubbish and they prey on scared and uninformed parents and teachers to get traction.

Lastly, resources from the big OS vendors to help parents without putting kids even further at risk:

Apple: https://www.apple.com/families/
Microsoft: https://account.microsoft.com/family/about…
Google: https://families.google.com/familylink/