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©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 1 Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: What Every Parent Needs To Know NYPD Police Athletic League October 27, 2008
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 2 About Me (Mind Over Technology) Specializing in Cyber Crime apprehension, Mary Ellen Kennel serves on the board of the SANS Institute Advisory Committee, and is a trusted member of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association and the FBI civilian task force, InfraGard. Mary Ellen has been a part of The Internet since browsers were mere lines of text and brings over 15 years of experience focusing on Digital Forensic Analysis and Incident Response, Perimeter Protection, Intrusion Prevention & Packet Analysis, Cutting Edge Hacking Techniques, and Web Application Security. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mary Ellen attended Columbia University and remains one of the few Mennonites in Manhattan. Find out more about her by visiting: http://MindOverTechnology.comhttp://MindOverTechnology.com or http://ManhattanMennonite.blogspot.com.http://ManhattanMennonite.blogspot.com
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 3 Is The Internet safe for my child? Like many things in life, it has potential for harm, but so does crossing the street. As parents, it’s important to find ways to hold your child’s hand, even if you’re away from their keyboard.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 4 Insecurity Through Obscurity I do not recommend placing a computer with Internet access in your child’s room. Conversely, it used to be that moving the family computer into an open, shared, and communal location was a meaningful method of online supervision, but with the proliferation of technology, it’s important that parents get involved with their child’s online habits, and empower them through knowledge and awareness.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 5 First tackle your own insecurities If you don’t know as much about computers as your kid(s), ask them to introduce you to the services and sites they frequent online. Additionally, most cities have a local computer user group, offering introductory computer classes for free or a nominal fee. Search online for: “[your city name] computer user group”, and you’re bound to get some leads. In NYC go to: http://www.NYPC.org.http://www.NYPC.org
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 6 Log-Off With Your Kids The single most important online safety feature available to you, is to have an offline discussion with your child. Make sure this is a dialogue and not a monologue. Remember, you’re empowering them, and you want to make sure they are comfortable coming to you with questions. You also want to assure them that there will not be punitive damages if they come to you with a concern. Educate them to the types of things online that can be misleading, i.e., someone approaching them to chat privately or asking them for personal information about where they live, what they look like, how old they are, or their phone number.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 7 Let’s Make A Deal Instead of restricting your child’s access, what about making a deal with them? Many parents have found an agreement in writing helpful, a contract of sorts. I have made links available to some sample contracts on my blog at: http://manhattanmennonite.blogspot.com/2008/08/blog- post.html http://manhattanmennonite.blogspot.com/2008/08/blog- post.html
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 8
9 Should I Use A Filter? Filters can help block unwanted sites, but they are not fail-proof, and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for communicating with your child.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 10 Should I Spy On My Kid? You can install monitoring software, but kids find ways around these. Controls can help, but they won’t teach your child how to behave outside your home, where “everybody’s doing it.”
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 11 Should I Allow A Web Cam? Evaluate whether a webcam or microphone is essential to your system, if not, disable and/or donate. Adult webcam related material is a large portion of webcam usage, additionally there are individuals who take abnormal pleasure in simply viewing children’s ordinary activities online. If you do keep a web cam at home, make sure it is only used with parental supervision.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 12 Who’s My Kid Really Chatting With? Anonymity online is an in-depth topic, but suffice to say that it’s important your child understands that the photo of the 13-year-old that’s posted on their favorite social networking site or online profile, could very well be someone else.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 13 Learn The Lingo Communicate with your kids on their level, using their vernacular. Most importantly, listen to them. Set ground-rules when appropriate, but allow them to have a voice that’s heard. Two- way communication is key, you want your child to feel comfortable enough to come to you if something (or someone) questionable comes to them.
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 14 Can I Trust My Child? Blind Trust -Obviously unsafe Trust No One -Preferable (in my opinion) but highly unpractical in the real world Earned Trust -Not utopia, but deserves some merit
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 15 Trusted Sources ● Parry Aftab, online safety guru: Here Web site is the single most comprehensive collection of online safety tips for kids: http://www.WiredSafety.orghttp://www.WiredSafety.org ● The FBI offers a very helpful parental online guide: http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm ● Consumer Reports offers a useful guide to kid’s online safety: http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2007/08/whos-talking-to.html ● PBS FrontLine documentary Keeping Kids Safe Online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/safe ● NY Times columnist David Pogue takes a practical approach: http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/assessing-the-dangers-of-the-internet-for- children ● NY Times columnist Harlan Coben offers a tough-love scenario: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/opinion/16coben.html ● Read through danah boyd’s blog postings on Youth Culture: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/youth_culture ● Parent-child online agreement: http://wiredkids.org/parents/parentingonline/agreement.html
©2009 by Mary Ellen Kennel. All rights reserved. 16 Questions? Mary Ellen Kennel mek@MindOverTechnology.com
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