Predators use games, social media, live streaming platforms and chatrooms in order to target children online. But they are also increasingly targeting parents of children to get information on young people or home computers with multiple users.
A recent study found when sharing parenting advice on social media, common topics included: getting kids to sleep (28 per cent), nutrition and eating tips (26 per cent, discipline (19 per cent), daycare/preschool (17 per cent) and behaviour problems (13 per cent).
These common topics of conversation often reveal key information about a child, including: name, age/date of birth, school name and even their appearance which makes them easy targets.
While it may be very difficult to protect the privacy of children in the digital age, there are some things that can be done to shelter children from online dangers.
Know your privacy settings
It is amazing how many parents leave on their Instagram location settings. Set your location settings to off if you do not want people to be able to figure out where you and your children live.
Only share with people who care
Ask yourself if all the people you’re sharing your photos with really want to see them and will they protect them in a way you would.
Explore private social networks
Private social networks offer a secure way to share the pictures and information of your children with your family and friends.
Don’t take any digital photos
Ultimately the only way to be 100 per cent sure that you don’t have a digital footprint is not to have any digital photos taken but this isn’t a road the vast majority of people want to go down.
Speak to your children about the dangers
Communicating to your child about the perils of being online and to be aware of strange activity is always recommended. Let them know what to look out for if a stranger tries to talk to them and glean information.
Put your computer in a public place in your home
Children should not have private access to the home computer or tablet. Make sure an adult is always able to monitor what they are doing and seeing on the screen. Parents should be able to read emails and see what websites their child has been on.