by Matt Huggins
There are two things in this world that you can just about guarantee most kids will love: football and the internet. Well, we’ve been doing our best to bring the two closer together in a new campaign to help educate parents about the dangers facing their children online. Together with partner SecureIT Consult, we recently sponsored a 25th anniversary party at Timperley FC. And we’re planning to use this and potentially other clubs in future as a base to get more parents cyber-literate.
The internet has transformed how our children learn, socialise and grow. It’s a portal to a wonder-filled world of excitement and mystery. Unlike previous generations, kids today have known no different, which can be hard for many parents to deal with. While on one level youngsters are supremely confident in managing and interacting with web-based technology, they can also be too trusting of those they encounter online. That makes it essential for parents to step in from time-to-time. But where do you start?
In a recent Trend Micro study in the US, over a third (34%) of responding parents claimed their kids have viewed inappropriate content online, while 8% said they kids had suffered at the hands of cyber-bullies. Online grooming is another serious issue, as is malware and other internet-borne security and privacy threats. Knowing where to start can be a challenge for parents, not least because their little ones will be out and about for most of the day — probably with access to a mobile device.
That makes it vital to set appropriate internet usage guidelines for them from the very start. Parental controls can be tough for kids to understand, but if you’re able to patiently explain why you’re imposing them it can make the whole experience less traumatic.
Internet safety for the win!
Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) is one of our longest-running corporate initiatives, and by targeting football clubs we get access to countless volunteer parents who put time in to help their kids enjoy sport. Together with SecureIT Consult we’ve got ambitious plans to teach the parents of Timperley FC players some of the basics in cyber security and online privacy, so they can then keep their kids safe online.
With our help, they’ll hopefully be able to answer some key questions, including:
- What are the biggest online security threats to kids?
- How do I talk with my child about cyber security?
- How do we protect our family’s computers?
- How do we protect our mobile devices?
- Why do we always hear things like “never share your passwords”?
It doesn’t stop with Timperley FC. We’ve got another session scheduled with Cheshire FC, and in the New Year we plan to approach various local schools across Surrey as well as organise a session with Surrey FA. There’s also an opportunity to sponsor the popular Brockham Tournament next year as a way to build closer ties with communities and parents.
When it comes to internet safety the bad guys are constantly on the lookout for new ways to take advantage of us and our kids. So, we have to be determined and resourceful in how we fight back. The first step in this is education.