Violence, Sex and Harassment: How to protect your kids on the Internet

How to protect your kids on the Internet

Photo by ganesha.isis. Flickr.


Violence, sex and harassment on the internet, a lurking danger for kids and teens, parents often don’t know how to protect their kids while many surf the Internet without control amongst these dangers.

Joseph Brown is a 15 year old kid who spends all day online which is not uncommon as 88% of kids rooms have some type of internet access. In addition the skyrocketing use of cellphones adds to this problem as this mini communication center also serves as a game console, TV and MP3 player.

We have a class wide chat, if I don’t connect to it I won’t know what’s happening, for example I could miss my homework. I can not imagine what it would be like to live without a cellphone” comments Joseph Brown.

Joseph’s mother, Karen Brown believes that today’s children are the experts in the digital world: “It demands a lot of energy trying to stay ahead of them, controlling them and trying to find out what they do and what websites they surf at all times” she says.

The ability to navigate from the cellphone allows teens to be more exposed since a simple search is enough to access violent or sexual content. Many middle and high school kids post images or videos without being aware of the repercussions, where something as harmless as a selfie, may become subject to blackmail or harassment on the internet.

In my school there was a boy who was bullied and many others in the class branded him as stinky. They put pictures of him on Facebook next to the word skunk“, comments Joseph. Linda Davis one of Joseph’s classmates adds: “I met a girl who had a selfie in a bikini on her cellphone. During a school trip someone stole her phone and sent that picture to all her contacts.

As Linda and Joseph, 1 in 3 teenagers know someone that has been bullied on the Internet. In worst cases, private photos taken with cellphones are shared along with a phone number. Many cellphones are stolen or taken to cyber bully others, in these scenarios children and parents can use applications such as MyAntiTheft to track where the phone is, take a picture of the person that is using it and block access to other apps and content in the phone.

Geolocation tracking to always know where your device is at.

My AntiTheft’s geolocation tracking

However, these psychological attacks put children against the wall. Experts warn about the seriousness of cyber bullying but it’s even more important that parents and teachers talk about this situations with their kids. It’s best to delete all data and call the police in the most serious cases where private pictures make it out to social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Another problem is video game violence, although many are for adults only, children have little difficulty in accessing them. Luckily, there is special software to protect children such as Kids Safe Browser or K9 Web Protection Browser where the goal is to filter content allowing only authorized images and text to be shown while blocking prohibited websites.

And being no less relevant, it is necessary to warn kids about risky downloads and other services requiring payment as in many cases these can be phishing sites that contain malware. This can be difficult as these sites and apps are not always easily recognizable by both kids and adults, thus it is necessary to use an antivirus app such as MyAntivirus to help block these threats.

It is important to be aware that a single click can lead to a significant family expense. Simple mistakes can be a learning experience but they can also wreck havoc and will go to show that on the internet, anyone can be fooled.

Spam: The Digital Plague

Spam, the digital plague
183 million spam messages are sent worldwide on a daily basis. Spamming can be a lucrative business that saturates email accounts and can transmit malware and viruses to your computer or mobile device.

It is estimated that worldwide, the damage caused by spam reaches in excess of $12 billion dollars. Anti spam activists such as the Spamhause Project or Google, fight against this plague.

Spammers usually operate with nonexistent companies to buy IP addresses and use outside servers. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 spam messages advertise suspicious online businesses. For example, the so-called Nigerian scam is designed to make you think that you can get millions of dollars but only if you send a sum of money in advanced.

Other spam messages contain files that infect your computer or mobile device that allow hackers to control and access them remotely. Anti spam organizations maintain spam lists, which are used to block suspicious senders and report them to the police.

This digital plague is not something exclusive to Russia and Nigeria, as it is generally thought. In fact, industrialized countries such as Germany and Japan are in the top 10 lists, with the US in the first place.

 10 Worst Spam Countries

Image: The Spamhaus Project


In many countries, spam is difficult to control due to legislation and also because it is difficult to verify that a person did not give consent to receive such messages. Once the spammers are identified, anti spam activists report their information to the police in order to assist in putting a stop to it.

Despite the efforts of organizations such as Spamhaus or the police, the battle against spam is far from over. Spammers are constantly evolving and changing their methods until eventually this junk email will be more methodical, unrecognizable, and better integrated into the daily life.

The amount of spam is not expected to reduce, however anti-spam organizations have a clear objective: to prevent spam from reaching our inbox.

Spam is digital trash and as such it should be sent to the recycle bin unopened. Do not click on any links from spam emails and always protect your mobile devices against malware and other threats with antivirus solutions such as MyAntiTheft.

You might be giving consent to phishing on your mobile device or computer

News about phishing is published constantly on the Internet and TV, warning people about several threats detected every day in emails, phone calls, social engineering, webpages and social media such as Facebook.

However, not everybody pays attention to this news since the majority are not aware of what phishing really is or what it looks like.

Phishing is an online scam designed by cybercriminals to steal money and personal information from your computer or mobile device, ironically, with your consent.

The way criminals do this is by posing like a legitimate company, organization or bank in order collect sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details and in some cases money.

The best way to avoid being a victim of phishing is by knowing how to recognize it. The following are examples of the most common ways criminals attack:

Phishing Email:
When you get an email from your bank, social media account, school, etc. requesting verification or some kind of urgent action, pay attention to the following signs to detect phishing:

Email Phishing

Generic greeting: since email phishing is sent in large quantities, criminals use generic names such as “Dear valued costumer”. If you don’t see your name in the email, be suspicious.

Forged Link: Phishing is all about posing as a legitimate company, that’s why emails will look exactly as the genuine company layout. Pay attention to the links that they are asking you to go to, and read if they are actually going to the company’s site or to any other random, unfamiliar one. Another way to do this is by looking at the URL, in most cases the URL should start with “https”, the s stands for secure and if you don’t see it, don’t proceed.

Request sensitive information: If an email is requesting sensitive information such as ID data, credit cards or passwords it is probably phishing. Pay even more attention to the URL or link you are at.

Sense of urgency: Cybercriminals want to get your information ASAP. That’s why they will create threatening or confusing messages to get you to act immediately.

Phishing website:

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Poor resolution: This websites are usually poor quality. Be suspicious if the logo, text or resolution is poor.

Forged URL: Some webpages will masquerade their URL with names similar to the company, however always look for the s in “Https” that will tell you if the webpage is secure. Also, look out for URLs that begin with an IP address, such as: http://12.34.56.78/firstgenericbank/account-update/ — these are likely phishes.

Forged URL’s cannot show a domain path, what this means if you are at “http://www.paypal.com” and entering information, be cautious. There should usually be more to the URL. Paypal would not have you enter any information on their home page! This is a masqueraded URL!

Social Media Phishing:

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Phishing in social media is increasing since people are more social and trusting. Cybercriminals know that and are pushing messages containing threats that accounts will be blocked if users don’t verify information, or promising interesting content such as games, videos or pictures.

So, be aware and pay attention to URLs, layouts, and the types of information you are required to give. Be cautious and keep your antivirus, such as MyAntivirus, updated and running since they can detect scams like phishing and malware behind it.