When it comes to oversharing and interacting online, I’m fairly savvy. I know all about safety, digital footprints, cookies and how marketers use my data.
I’m also an oversharer. (Duh. Really?)
When it comes to my children and their experiences online, I’m much more protective. MUCH. MORE. Digital safety is a huge concern.
Does that mean the boys live in a cave and don’t get to see the light of the internet world? Not at all. We’re just uber-protective of their experiences.
The Internet can be an open door to a child’s personal information, whether it is identity theft, online tracking, profiling, or cyber-predators. Luckily for me, I’ve made quite a few digitally-savvy friendships and I tend to learn about these type of issues and great solutions from my online colleagues more quickly then most.
Which, in turn, allows me to share them with you. (Bonus!)
For those of you sharing my concern on this issue, you will be excited to discover this new resource – CacoonKids for KlaasKids.
CocoonKids for KlaasKids gives parents a free tool to manage their kids’ website visits and protects families’ personal information whether on their computer, iPad, iPhone, or other personal devices.Virtual World Computing, the online security company behind CocoonKids, has teamed up with renowned child-safety advocate Marc Klaas to harness the power of Cocoon technology to protect children from online predators and abusive marketers.
The service provides:
- Tracking Protection: Children will only be able to visit parent-approved sites and the sites will not be able to track them
- Secure Browsing: Since the computer never touches the Internet (because it is shielded by the Cocoon app in the Cloud), computers and iOS devices are safe from viruses, malware, and spyware
- Whitelist: A whitelist of recommended age-appropriate sites developed by parents, including national parenting bloggers, will be available as part of the service
- Custom Accounts: Every child has a different age, interests, and education level, so each account can be customized to allow access to the sites that are age appropriate and match their interests
- Block Browsers: Includes instructions on how to remove other browsers from computers, so kids will always browse safely
Some of the most popular kids websites have been found to have (sometimes 30% more than the average adult site according to that 2010 report by WSJ) to track data more effectively. Children are prevalent Internet users, and they are more vulnerable than adults to online tracking and identity theft because they are by nature more trusting.
While the official age when people can join Facebook is 13, Consumer Reports released a report in May 2011, finding that 7.5 million kids under the age of 12 are members. They have access to Facebook’s new “frictionless sharing,” which allows people to easily share what they’re reading and listening to without choosing to actually click “share” or “like.” In reality, the new system follows Facebook users across the Internet taking copious notes on their reading, browsing and shopping habits – and that is only one social media site.
A recent study conducted by Commonsense Media (Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America) states that 22 percent of 5 to 8-year olds use computer once a day, and more than a third of children under the age of 8 have used a mobile device, either cell phones or tablets, to watch movies, play games and use apps.
With criminals, deviants and sexual predators actively targeting children who browse the web (coupled with the naivety of our children) -as parents, it’s up to us to insure that our children do not wander into the streets of the world-wild web alone.
(FTC Disclosure: I was compensated for my involvement with this awareness campaign. All opinions are my own.)