We have seen digitization emerging at a lightning fast speed, devouring old traditions and technologies that we held dear to socialize and interact with each other. How it affected the lives of youngsters and adults is a matter of concern that we will discuss at some other point.
Today, we will talk about how it affected kids and what should we do to keep them away from harmful and corrupted sites. For kids, digitization is like building a sandcastle on a beach surrounded by the vast ocean of internet, and a single wave of cyber attacks is enough to wash away this castle from its root. Since the inception of the concept of digitization, kids have managed to stay one step ahead of their parents on the digital front. It has always been a challenge to keep an eye on their digital activities.
Remember the golden era of social media when youngsters owned Facebook and Yahoo until every parent, grandparent, schoolteacher and even social workers, teamed up to tame the mounting frustration of kids for social networking platforms. Desperate to get in touch with friends and strangers, teens have migrated to other options such as Instagram, Twitter, What’s App, and Snapchat hoping to carve a small patch of land where they can have a sense of belonging.
How kids are using Google Docs as a digital platform for chatting?
A latest report on social media indicates that Google Docs is the new covert hangout for these digital nomads. You heard it right, Google Docs, a dreary looking online tool mostly used by working professionals to collaborate on business projects. Google Docs is the best in its class when it comes to analyzing, sharing and editing documents by multiple users at the same time. It seems like an online ‘Thanksgiving’ party or a social gathering of private groups. You can download the app from Google Appstore on your Mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.
Kids can use the chat function, or even highlight words and phrases and use a comment bubble to chat with friends during the classroom. Because teachers also use the app in the classroom, there is no official barrier for kids as well, so there is hardly anyone would ever suspect. They can dupe their parents into thinking they are studying in the classroom or doing their homework.
Another backdrop is that social networking sites are barred in the school premises by firewall protection, but Google Docs is hardly ever considered a distraction for the sake of studies. Therefore, they kept Google Docs out of such considerations.
The biggest risk associated with Google Docs is that it is vulnerable to abuse like any other chatting app available in the Google Appstore. Similar to other platforms, what began as a covert channel for information sharing between colleagues and friends, could easily get infected with malicious content as more and more people are invited into a shared document to chat.
Kids can easily share videos, memes, images, unsettling comments, disturbing ideas, on Google Docs and no one would ever suspect. They can gang up with other kids and start bullying others just as they do with other apps.
Here is a list of guidelines to ensure the digital security of kids
- Trace their online destinations
- Check their social media updates during homework
- Check their mobile devices for other apps
- Teach your kids to share images, videos and documents that are not disturbing to others.
- Ask your kids to share the homework with you on Google Docs
- Keep in touch with their teachers and instructors to stay alert if there is anything suspicious with your kid’s behavior.
- Deploy Parental control on your Kid’s device to help block risky sites and infected files. It also sends you a report of your kid’s online activities.
- Look for red flags because it gives you a hint of whether your kid is being private or trying to hide a risky behavior.
- Connect to other parents, especially those of your kid’s friends.
- Talk to your kids all the time about what they like to do online or what their friends like to do at home.
In a Nutshell
Be flexible and don’t stress your kids with too many inquiries and investigations. It might drive your kids into deeper secrecy and they might be scared to share anything with you. Just remember, you want them to be safe, not scared.
Smith Warner is a creative person who has been writing blogs and articles about cyber security. He writes about the latest updates regarding McAfee.com/activate and how it can improve the work experience of users. His articles have been published in many popular e-magazines, blogs and websites.