The Incognito kids

In the good old days, before COVID19, the easiest way to keep children from online dangers was to not give them Internet access. As

In the good old days, before COVID19, the easiest way to keep children from online dangers was to not give them Internet access. As someone who has investigated several cases of cyberbullying, online identity theft, cyber harassment and of course cyber ransoms against kids nudity and threats, I know first-hand why irresponsible online access could lead to long term suffering to victims.

However, the lockdown made online learning a must. Now, all children must access the Internet to attend virtual classes.  

In addition to whitelisting the acceptable sites, the kids now know about the virtual private network (VPN) thanks to the government’s OTT which help proliferate and create awareness of VPNs.

When technical solutions fail, you go morally. I had to introduce family values:

  • While online, make the right choices – the internet is like electricity. If you use it well, it will give you light and power to your life’s essentials. However, if you use it badly it will burn you, and your house.
  • When you are online, you are like in a huge city. You must go to places you know, otherwise, you will be kidnapped and killed by strangers.
  • The Internet is like a restaurant, with so many foods on the menu, you must choose what you love eating. Even if you see many things for download, do not click unless you know what you are downloading.
  • Personal hygiene. Sanitation. Academic excellence and discipline are your guides. Keep your computer clean. Don’t drink or eat over the keyboard. Try to learn as much as you can online and listen to your parents, elders, and teachers.

Today, one of my kids came to tell me “Daddy, I have seen someone using Incognito in Chrome.” I was surprised. Incognito. It’s something that even us the cyber security folks take time to come to grips with. And then when he also told me, that “they also downloaded TOR”, I got scared.

How are the kids finding out these things?

The other time when I disabled WhatsApp on the phone, the kid found a way to connect it via browser. She was so disciplined. Stopped asking for a phone for over two weeks and I was feeling so excited that my girl has overcome her weakness of the mobile phone.

However, a chance encounter on her laptop, made me catch her live with WhatsApp live. “The zoom sessions are always sent via WhatsApp, and since I could not access the phone, I had to connect directly using the QR code”, she said in my face.  

Ok, no worries. Next time do ask.

How do you parent kids that are savvier than you?

These Incognito kids have challenged me.

I will not tire telling them about the opportunities the Internet has to offer, and the dangers therein. I pray they chose well.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2021 Mr Strategy. All rights reserved.

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