A recent blog profiled Melissa Hathaway, a mom who helped craft the cybersecurity policies of the current and previous administrations and has a cautious attitude regarding web security. For instance, she won’t engage in online banking. Now, she is keeping her eye on her son’s Internet safety. For instance, before she would let her child download a particularly addictive computer game, she insisted he find out all about it. Dutifully, he reported back about the fee, the payment method, the game’s market penetration and a bio of the game’s Swedish developer. After she verified the information, she proudly gave her son permission to download the game.
But that doesn’t mean she has let her guard down. One tactic she employs is to do frequent Google searches on her son. She wants to know if there is anything posted about him on the web. To her surprise, she discovered that her son had created a profile on Google but failed to opt out of revealing personal information and web-surfing habits. She didn’t come down on her son like a ton of bricks. Rather, she explained why he had to opt out of public facing. She said it was not OK for the world to see his information. Together, they reconfigured the Google profile. Her son, while initially nervous about upsetting his mom, readily agreed and now Google searches do not reveal anything about him. She sees a lesson here for all parents – educate yourself about the digital world and decide what is right and wrong.
Sally Verdish read about Melissa’s story and agreed thoroughly. She is a mother of two from Texas and her immediate reaction was that parents should oversee their children’s Internet activities. Her thesis is that the only way to protect kids it to install effective web security software coupled with repeated conversations on the topic of Internet safety. Sally believes that there are real threats lurking on the Internet in the form of hackers and spammers who can take advantage of young web surfers. “If my kid wants to use the Internet, they must be aware of the possible dangers. I don’t want any hacker attacking my child’s computer. She listed the types of attacks she worries about, including:
Sally is particularly concerned about phishing, because she is afraid her children may not be able to differentiate genuine email from spurious mailings that try to imitate real sites. She supports software solutions that help fight phishing and all other forms of malware.