I’m a tech pro – here are 5 internet secrets you need to know to keep your kids safe

Keeping your kids safe online can be a daunting task, but here are five loopholes to watch out for, according to experts.

Kids find new ways to defeat parental controls every day, and the average adult settings options aren’t enough to protect them.

Five clever loopholes have been uncovered by parental control app experts

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Five clever loopholes have been uncovered by parental control app expertsPhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies
The expert has also given advice on how to tackle this problem

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The expert has also given advice on how to tackle this problemPhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies

This is because more than half of parents with children between the ages of seven and 17 think the younger generation is more tech-savvy than they are.

And six out of ten children have managed to completely bypass the parental controls that have been set.

An expert from Bark Technologies gave parents a glimpse of five backdoors kids are using to bypass these restrictions.

Explore Google Docs

Parents may be familiar with the program as children commonly use it to complete homework and it became popular as the world turned to home learning during the pandemic.

However, Google Docs includes an icon called Explore that allows the user to search for websites and images at the same time on the same screen.

It has also been found that children use Google Docs as a chat device at school.

Chief Parent Officer at Bark Technologies, Titania Jordan said: “Kids are brilliant at finding ways to bypass parental controls, especially with technology changing so quickly.

“They often know secret workarounds that most parents are unaware of.”

From a distance it might appear as if a child is working on their own individual document, but in reality it is possible that they are all writing on the same document.

Spotify playlist descriptions

Spotify is a music streaming service, but kids use it to communicate with people online, according to this expert.

You can write messages through song descriptions and it leaves open the possibility that a stranger could contact a child.

“Remember, all it takes to chat online is a place where two kids can text edit in the same place.” Titania added.

The policy requires Spotify users to be at least 13 years old and have parental permission, but there’s no way to confirm this when someone signs up.

It is important to verify that the music player app is communicating.

Fitbit app

Another inventive and surprising way kids and strangers communicate is with the Fitbit app.

There is a community news section that allows other Fitbit wearers to talk to each other and follow their progress.

“At first glance, the Fitbit app just looks like a place to look at data about steps taken or exercise minutes,” the expert added.

“But there’s a community like Facebook that allows strangers to post and channel messages,” she said.

email drafts

Parents might think that just browsing the sent and received folders in their email account is enough to keep track of their kids — but they’re wrong.

Teens who hack into an account can use draft mode to communicate with someone who also knows the login credentials.

The messages can then be deleted immediately and leave no trace.

“If two kids know the logins to an email account, they can take turns writing in draft mode and the messages won’t show as sent or received,” Titania continued.

Google Maps

Although we use Google Maps every day, there is a risk when it is installed on a child’s device.

Anyone can search for a store or place that might sell or offer an inappropriate product and show the user where to go.

Titania said, “I know, seems harmless doesn’t it?

“But try searching for a sex shop, for example, that might lead you to shops nearby, and then it’s just a short hop to their website via the link that Google provides.”

The developers of Bark’s parental control app suggested that the best way to keep your kids safe is to keep the communication open.

“Talk calmly and openly to your kids about unexpected Internet rabbit holes and make sure you’re using smart parental controls that actually monitor for dangers.

“Don’t just try to control screen time.”

Thousands of parents have discovered their children have been contacted about what they believe to be an innocent video game.

Roblox is similar to Fortnite in that it represents an online virtual space where users can socialize.

It’s basically a place where you can meet up with friends, explore virtual rooms, and play a huge variety of games and content.

A mother felt “physically ill” after a “predator” texted her eight-year-old boy through the game’s chat feature.

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The user asked the unassuming youngster to google something for him.

He was sent a link that took the boy to an adult website and his horrified mother wished she could “erase him from his memory”.

The first gap was the Google Docs Explore feature

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The first gap was the Google Docs Explore featurePhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies
Parents should also monitor Spotify

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Parents should also monitor SpotifyPhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies
As well as her kids' Fitbit app in the community news

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As well as her kids’ Fitbit app in the community newsPhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies
Also, keep an eye on your email as kids can communicate in draft mode

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Also, keep an eye on your email as kids can communicate in draft modePhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies
Pay attention to what you can find with Google Maps

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Pay attention to what you can find with Google MapsPhoto credit: Instagram@barktechnologies

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9966991/how-to-keep-children-safe-online-tips-roblox/ I’m a tech pro – here are 5 internet secrets you need to know to keep your kids safe

Fry Electronics Team

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