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Kids' Phone Safety Blog

Finding the Balance: How to Keep Kids Safe but Sovereign in the Internet of Things Era

May 30, 2016
internet of things

Today, people often get confused with intricate Internet of Things definitions. Simply saying, the IoT is a bunch of interconnected digital devices that can interact via the Internet. Thus, everything that has an ON/OFF switch and is capable of direct or Wi-Fi network connection is a part of the Internet of Things. The obvious examples here are a smartphone, a tablet, or just a laptop. However, most of us also face other smart electronics, like remote loudspeakers, TVs with Wi-Fi, digital photo frames, or temperature sensors.

The IoT technologies are meant to make our lives easier, become our assistants and advisors. According to multiple studies, Gartner in particular, the number of IoT devices can hit the point of over 21 billion by 2020. Apparently, it is going to become a part of our lives.

With the computer era, new technologies and media being mainstream, the Internet safety issues arise. New gadgets and high—tech toys are susceptible to spyware threats like ordinary computers. So, the matter of Internet security problems is among the most important ones. According to the Solus company (their expertise is solving user fraud and hacking issues of digital businesses), the major troubles exposing the IoT to threats are:

  • Excessive amounts of data. Internet of Things generates huge volumes of information requiring stronger security measures.
  • Information sharing safety. There is always a sad possibility of a vicious hacker stealing the data, so the protection needs to be beefed up.
  • Information generated using the IoT may be vulnerable to external parties hunting down a way to use for their nefarious plans.
  • Timely data processing. Various apps need to have the proper information in time to obtain actionable insights. Users need a result or action, not gigabytes of digits or statistical data.

But what is Internet of thing and how we can make use of it when we’re talking about children protection? Well, basically, it means that we must secure our kids from possible harms and dangers that come along with universal devices’ connectivity. This protection shouldn’t restrict a child’s control over the device, but just to keep away the potential risks. Thus, parental monitoring becomes an essential instrument in attaining this goal.

internet full of things

Source: lockerdome.com

Special applications offer vast functionality, sometimes even more than it’s actually needed. Modern devices are even capable of measuring steps or moves the kid makes, however, it’s not the matter of actual concern. The sole thing a parent needs to know is that everything is OK with the child. In the context of IoT and parental control, this means that tracking Internet activity and analyzing all relevant information on our own becomes an inherent part of parenting. There are many ways to do this, yet in today’s high-tech world, parental control apps come in most handy. Just remember not to be too intrusive to track your kid’s every single action. According to studies published by Internet Monitor, overprotected children lose their self—confidence, become more depressed, and indecisive. This affects the parent-kid relations in the family and worsens the attitude to seniors. Therefore, don’t control or direct your kids’ life, just be present in it.

Besides possible harmful impact, protection of child’s personal info and data transfer is also a big and open issue. Just like sadly known ‘Sony hack’ or ‘Vtech hack’ exposed people’s private data, information about you kids may reach undesired parties.

To minimize or even eliminate the before mentioned risks, the best options are:

  1. Safety checkouts — Internet connection control, data encrypting, cams and mics disconnection;
  2. Communication — conversation is the best mean to secure your children from misdeeds and show an exemplary online behavior;
  3. Relation — reasonable amount of protection, elimination of total control, allowing for privacy;
  4. Education — discussion of the IoT issues, the mutual search for ways to avoid harmful impacts.
father and daughter with laptop

Source: welivesecurity.com

As an instance of fruitful and rational parenting, there is an IoT product called Whereabouts Clock. It works by using the cell phone data to find the location and show it on the remote screen. Another innovative device is Circle — a great gadget for content filtering, setting Internet use time limits, and protecting from spyware. For more close monitoring there are many parental control apps, with Pumpic being one of the most perfectly balanced between powerful, comprehensive but unobtrusive tracking. It allows monitoring multiple actions and keeping your kid away from hazardous impacts or wrong activities.

Not anymore is the Internet of Things a mysterious world, but a reality that affects children and parents more and more every day. It means that your child’s protection from abundant threats, which come with the interconnected environment, shifts from desirable to obligatory. But be careful and don’t restrict your kid to enjoy all wonderful features and opportunities gadgets offer. Find a balance between kids’ safety procurement and letting them feel independent. Keep them safe but sovereign in the Internet of Things age!

Do you restrict your kids from modern gadgeds? Share your thoughts in comments!

Rachel Fowlers
Rachel Flowers is a journalist with a big passion for technologies. She has recently graduated from San Francisco State University and sees herself as a freelance writer. She enjoys blogging about computer and mobile technologies as well as different software. In her free time, she learns coding and foreign languages. Contact .

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