Internet Safety for Kids Episode 16 - Make sure you do not become a cyberbot.

Internet Safety for Kids Episode 16 – Make sure you do not become a cyberbot.

Hi, welcome to Internet Safety for Kids and thank you for joining our program!

As always with our program Internet Safety for Kids, please make sure to watch this episode together when possible, so you all learn and understand these important topics. Don’t allow the adults to say that they already know everything because there will be plenty to learn for them, too!

There are many ways in which you could lose control over what you do on the internet. For example, hackers can take over your device and use it to harm others, even without you knowing it. But there are also other ways in which you can be under the control of others, and you might not even realize that. For example, when people spread false information and you share it with others, or like it. Even when this might look harmless at first glance, when you do this, you are in fact helping them to spread their false information. We call this becoming a cyberbot and today we will have a look at how you can prevent this.

We will explain why is it important, what does it mean, and what should you do. Are you with us?

Let us start with the first cyberbot problem. Cybercriminals take control over devices and accounts so they can use them to harm others. For example, by making a device send a lot of data to a website and when they do that with enough devices, the website will not be able to handle that. But they can also use devices and accounts under their control to spread malware or even use them for ransomware attacks. When you have watched our Internet Safety for Kids videos you already know how to prevent this, so let us look at the notes to make sure we have everything covered.

  • Make sure you have all updates and patches installed on all your devices.
  • Use complex and unique passwords for your accounts, and multifactor authentication.
  • Switch off devices you are not using, for example your game console, and always make sure you have all updates installed before you use them again.
  • Do not click on links, open attachments, or install programs, especially not from strangers.
  • Always use antivirus software and keep your firewall activated.
  • Think before you act!

The next form of becoming a cyberbot can be rather difficult to detect, but when you pay attention, you can do it and prevent that you become part of something you never wanted. Let us take the example of those messages where it says ‘send this to 10 friends’. In case you do this, it means that somebody has decided what you should send to your friends, right? But are you really sure that it is true what that person wrote you? And why should you send it to your friends? Better just leave it be, and when that person keeps sending you such messages, you might even consider blocking that person so they can not bother you again.

Maybe you have already heard the term fake news and that has become a big problem. People are spreading all kinds of nonsense, and they fully depend on other people sharing that as much as possible on social media. And before you know it, something that is not true becomes so popular on social media that they start to believe that it is true. And then they spread it to even more people who will also believe it is true because it is trending on social media. That is not only annoying. It can also become dangerous when they would spread false information about for example health issues.

The problem for all of us is that we simply do not know anymore what is true or not for everything that is shared on social media. And that is the first thing that I really want you to keep in mind. How do you know if it is true what you read or see on social media? So, how do you know if something you like, or share is true? Are you really sure that you are not becoming a cyberbot by sharing or liking something which is not true?

Your best defense against becoming an online cyberbot who shares false information is to just not share anything you do not know. When for example your friends post something about a game they won, it is great and you can share, like and comment all you want. But when someone shares something about something that happened or according to them will happen, and you do not know that person or know nothing about what they are posting, why should you respond and take the risk of being one of their cyberbots? Here are some tips to help you decide what to do and what you should not do.

  • Only respond to people you know.
  • Only share what you know is correct. When in doubt, do not share, like or comment.
  • When it appears that everyone is saying it on social media, this still does not mean that it is true.
  • When it appears that everyone is saying it on social media, this still does not mean that you should say it, too.
  • Stick to what you know and what you enjoy. Your games, your sports team, your friends.
  • When in doubt, do not share it, or just ask an adult you trust.

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