Threats are everywhere on the Internet and they pose a serious danger to younger users. Moreover, children who use mobile devices can be even more vulnerable because they are free to surf the Internet at any time or place, without adult supervision.
According to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, over a 12-month period the children of 22% of respondents were affected by cyber incidents. These incidents included outbreaks of cyberbullying or encountering sites containing material damaging for youngsters.
While surfing the Internet, children may come across web pages containing inappropriate information, for example, websites with erotic content or information about weapons or drugs. Another common problem arises when search results don’t lead to the kind of information the user is looking for. For example, a child might search for cartoons but get results about cartoons for adults.
Social networks are a serious source of threats too. Children can indiscriminately add anyone as a friend, making acquaintances and communicating with people who might upset or mislead them, or try to get confidential information from them. In particular, 21% of parents lost money or confidential information stored on their device due to their child’s activities, the survey showed.
Modern phones and tablets often serve as universal game consoles, and many children use them for little else. However, not all games are suitable for children: some contain scenes of violence, profanity or erotica. Games are not the only danger – any application downloaded from official stores could contain unwanted information.
It is important to remember that some threats are universal and can affect people of all ages. However, because children are less experienced they may be more vulnerable to these. For example, they may not properly understand how dangerous a site or a file can be, leading them to download infected files or enter data on a phishing page.
That’s why it’s vital to make sure the device is properly protected against viruses, phishing and other online threats – especially on Android-based devices since around 99% of all mobile malware is targeted at the Android platform.
Today many children spend too much time on their devices. Most prohibitions and access restrictions are hard to apply to a mobile device which is always with the child but there is a huge arsenal of technical means that could help to limit the time children use their mobile devices, or set times when they can play with the gadget. Of course, the problem cannot be solved by technical means alone. Children need alternatives to their gadgets and only their parents can ensure it – spend more time with the children; get them playing sports or being involved in a hobby, so that they have less time to spend on their mobile devices. It’s also advisable for parents to keep abreast of new cyber threats and tell their children about them. Understanding the rules of safe behaviour on the Web and careful attitude to the information that can be shared online, will help avoid many unpleasant incidents.
Information technologies can help protect children online. Kaspersky Lab offers a number of tools to ensure children are safe from cyber threats on mobile devices. These tools can automatically block dangerous content, filter unwanted sites and provide you with the reports containing information on the applications installed by your children. Among them are the Safe Browsers for iOS and Windows Phone, Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device 2015, which offers an array of protection for Android devices in particular.
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