Cyber space is a world of virtual reality and has become an integral part of our daily lives. It is a world in itself. It is a library of its own kind which can be accessed from anywhere and everywhere. It provides information on almost each and every subject. Information can be accessed by just clicking on the mouse. You can play games, read newspapers, watch movies, read books, and chat with friends using social interworking sites, search jobs, search places and much more. It has made our life so easy. You can even buy things online without physically visiting the shop or a market. With the increasing use of advance technology, a new type of crime has emerged which is known as cyber crime.
Among nearly two billion internet users worldwide, there are greater opportunities for criminals to entrap new victims, including children. Specifically, new information technologies are being misused to commit crimes such as: (a) child exploitation; (b) production, distribution, and possession of child pornography; (c) exposure to harmful content; (d) grooming, harassment, sexual abuse; and (e) cyber bullying.
The latest technologies make it easier for criminals to contact children in ways that were not previously possible. Children are particularly vulnerable to the exploitation of online predators because they rely heavily on networking websites for social interaction. Offenders use false identities in chat rooms to lure victims into physical meetings, thus connecting the worlds of cyber and physical crime. When this happens, virtual crime often leads to traditional forms of child abuse and exploitation such as trafficking and sex tourism.
The victims of online exploitation must live with their abuse for the rest of their lives. It is widely believed that exposure to certain content and easy contact with criminals online may affect the integral development of children. And once information and images are online, they remain online forever and are available to an increasing number of persons. Experts remind parents that online images of abuse are the result of actual, physical crimes.
Crime without Borders
Criminal enterprises benefit from the relative anonymity the internet provides. Law enforcement authorities struggle to locate offenders because of the ability to conceal online identities and shield unlawful activities with security programs. This anonymity is compounded by a strategic use of internet service providers ISP in multiple jurisdictions. When a perpetrator suspects that law enforcement in one jurisdiction is tracking his/her activity, he/she need only relocate the criminal enterprise to an ISP beyond the reach of those authorities. As a result, swift action is required to attribute cyber exploitation of children to users before they can transfer to the relative safety of a different ISP.
Criminals also frustrate law enforcement by developing new means to further their misconduct. Commercial websites once served as the major source of online exploitative images of children, where individuals paid a fee to access site content. These groups are now moving toward smaller social networks, image-sharing sites, free hosting platforms, and hacked websites. The less formal, peer-to-peer networks do not leave a money trail, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify online perpetrators.
The existing legal framework to combat transnational organized crime was not created with the internet in mind. Some suggest that legislation and other preventive measures designed to protect children from abuse must be amended to adapt to new threats posed by online perpetrators. Many experts however, suggested that no new treaties are required. Instead, the existing legal framework if fully implemented and enforced is sufficient to punish online child abuse and exploitation.
” Beware before it’s too late.
We all understand the need of protecting children in the real world but it is equally important for all parents and elders to protect their children from online threats. As a parent you can play an important role in protecting your children against Cyber Abuse. It is high time for parents and elders to take an active role in sharing with your kids about the use and abuse of cyber.
So here are some specific cyber security pointers for your awareness.
Remain positively engaged: Pay attention to and know the online environments your children use. Surf the Internet with them. Appreciate your children’s participation in their online communities and show interest in their friends. Try to react constructively when they encounter inappropriate material. Make it a teachable moment.
Teach kids to spot malicious links: Young people need to be wary of “make a new friend” links, dating sites, and gossipy-sounding scams that look like invites from friends or tempt them to “find out who’s talking about you” or “…who has a crush on you. Expand your children’s online experience and their autonomy when developmentally appropriate, as they demonstrate competence in safe and secure online behavior and good decision making.
Keep a clean machine: Safety and security start with protecting all family computers with a security suite (anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall) that is set to update automatically. Keep your operating system, web browsers, and other software current as well and back up computer files on a regular basis.
Know the protection features of the websites and software your children use: All major Internet service providers (ISPs) have tools to help you manage young children’s online experience (e.g., selecting approved websites, monitoring the amount of time they spend online, or limiting the people who can contact them) and may have other security features, such as pop-up blockers. Third-party tools are also available. But remember that your home isn’t the only place they can go online.
Review privacy settings: Look at the privacy settings available on social networking sites, cell phones, and other social tools your children use. Decide together which settings provide the appropriate amount of protection for each child.
Teach children to guard their passwords: Children are social. There are social reasons why children are hacked. One form of bullying is using a password a child has shared to break into his or her social media account and post embarrassing messages or images or use the account to spread spam or post links to malicious sites. Teach your kids not to share passwords, even with their closest buddies, and always to close out of accounts when they’re finished using computers shared with other people – especially those used in public, such as at school or public libraries. Browsers and cookies “remember” passwords all too well unless you use the browser’s “private” or “incognito” mode or remember to delete your cookies and history
Explain the implications: Help your children understand the public nature of the Internet and its risks as well as benefits. Be sure they know that any digital info they share, such as emails, photos, or videos, can easily be copied and pasted elsewhere, and is almost impossible to take back. Things that could damage their reputation, friendships, or future prospects should not be shared electronically.
Help them be good digital citizens: Remind your children to be good “digital friends” by respecting personal information of friends and family and not sharing anything about others that is potentially embarrassing or hurtful.
Just saying “no” rarely works: Teach your children how to interact safely with people they “meet” online. Though it’s preferable they make no in-person contact with online-only acquaintances, young people may not always follow this rule. So talk about maximizing safe conditions: meeting only in well-lit public places, always taking at least one friend, and telling a trusted adult about any plans they make – including the time, place, and acquaintance’s contact information (at least a name and cell phone number). Remind them to limit sharing personal information with new friends.
Empower your children to handle issues: Your children may deal with situations online such as bullying, unwanted contact, or hurtful comments. Work with them on strategies for when problems arise, such as talking to a trusted adult, not retaliating, calmly talking with the person, blocking the person, or filing a complaint. Agree on steps to take if the strategy fails.
Encourage your children to be “digital leaders:” Help ensure they master the safety and security techniques of all technology they use. Support their positive and safe engagement in online communities. Encourage them to help others accomplish their goals. Urge them to help if friends are making poor choices or being harmed.
If you know of a child in immediate risk or danger, call law enforcement right away. For more detail information about cyber security writes to us at – firstname.lastname@example.org. This Article is brought to you by Newman Limited – Lot 1, Wailekutu, Lami, PO Box 165, Suva, Fiji Islands.
By Anuradhi Wijeyawardena
Business Development Manager