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Cybersecurity expert: Parents should monitor child’s internet use during pandemic


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With many people using the internet more often, now is a good time to remind kids about internet safety. Right now, kids are using technology to do schoolwork, keep in touch with friends, and pass the time. A security expert said predators and scammers know this and are looking for opportunities to get access to children online.

Debra Ortiz-Pardi works at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She said there are three things parents should be doing: understanding the technology their kids are using, setting ground rules, and having ongoing conversations about internet safety. She said if a child is talking to someone one-on-one online, such as on a tutoring session, they shouldn’t be alone in their room.

“Maybe make sure those tutoring sessions are happening in a public area of the household where a parent can be around to monitor the discussions and making sure children are not in those isolated situations,” said Ortiz-Pardi.

Barry Hofecker is a security strategist at GreyCastle Security. He said it’s important to be transparent with kids and share your own experiences.

“Just share that there are suspicious things, take an opportunity if you identify something as a scam say, ‘look what this person’s trying to do, they’re trying to take advantage of us,'” said Hofecker.

He said even if they’re on trusted sites, kids should keep their guard up.

“You don’t know how those people on the other end who are interacting with your children have been vetted, what that process looks like to make sure they’ve had the right background check.”

He also recommended setting up parental controls on any devices kids are using. For parents working from home right now, he suggested setting up a separate account on the computer for your child. This way, important work documents don’t accidentally get deleted.

Parents can report online incidents to the CyberTipLine, also know as the ‘911 for the internet,’ at 1-800-843-5678. NCMEC also has resources for parents to talk to their kids about internet safety here.

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