**Originally published April 20th, 2020, UPDATED May 7th, 2020**
There’s been a surge in press coverage around children’s increased social engagement during COVID-19. It is no secret that children’s daily routines have been altered and extracurricular activities are just about nonexistent due to social distancing. This leaves them highly susceptible to predators who know that our children are not only at home, but they are constantly online.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns parents and educators of an increased risk of child exploitation as children develop an increased online presence, with more than 1.5 billion children and young adults either homeschooling or engaging in virtual classes. While online activities rise, so does cyberbullying, predator threats, and unsafe use of social media and gaming apps.
Popular social media applications, like TikTok and Facebook, require more parental involvement at the peak of COVID-19. Security researchers have recently found a vulnerability in the TikTok app that enables hackers to post false and inappropriate content into user’s feeds. It seems Facebook is in the news often for its security practices and data breaches, but it most recently had 267 million profiles for sale in the Dark Web – all for $600!
Obviously we are now seeing an exponential increase in these social media apps. Not to mention the predator nature of what’s going on, but additionally, if one of these apps were to expose any personal information of its users through a data breach, a child’s identity may end up for sale on the Dark Web – putting them at risk for synthetic identity theft.
Keep Children Safe from Online Predators | Six Tips
Here are six tips for parents to help keep their children safe online:
- Have conversations with your kids on how and with whom they are communicating online
- Gather a list of the apps your child uses and update security settings within each app
- Place computers in high traffic areas and frequently review your children’s browser history to ensure they are visiting appropriate websites
- Take the time to play the online games your kids are interested in, so you’re aware of the environment and interactions
- Download parental control applications that allow you to approve or block apps your children want to download and manage in-app purchases
- Familiarize yourself on the use of popular social media applications such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, dating apps, or any other platforms
ChildWatch Helps Protect Against Social Threats
- Thorough and ongoing identity monitoring
- Smart SSN Tracker, which alerts you if there is an unfamiliar name, alias, or address associated with their child’s Social Security Number (could be an indication of fraud)
- Award-winning Social Media Identity Monitoring Suite
- Fully Managed Restoration
- $1 Million in identity theft insurance and fully managed recovery services
IdentityForce’s award-winning Social Media Identity Monitoring, oversees all accounts within your IdentityForce membership, alerting you of threatening social network activity and posts that could be perceived as violent, are using profanity, or could even be categorized as cyberbullying or discriminatory.
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Whether juggling a new remote work lifestyle, dodging coronavirus scams, or simultaneously working to ensure the online safety of your children, IdentityForce is committed to protecting your family. Learn more about our plans, and sign up today for a free 30-day trial.