Cyber criminals target children too. They know they have jobs and money, they're often unskilled in online safety, and easy to trick. Criminals can find photos of children online, and use AI technology to put the faces onto naked bodies, and create a video. This could be used to blackmail the child (e.g. "pay money or we release this to your friends"), or sell online. We should all strive to protect our privacy online, and remain hidden as much as possible.
Here are some tips / points to discuss with them and work through:
Privacy and Security Settings
- Work through these settings in detail - every social media platform should offer settings around this.
- The goal is to ensure that strangers cannot see anything about them (profile, information etc) or what they post (locations, interests, photos etc).
- Encourage them to not share their facial photos (they will, but at least do it in social media accounts that are configured to keep strangers out), and of course NEVER share nude photos / body parts. Even profile photos should not show them personally, so perhaps create an avatar.
- I've seen some advice that it's ok to share nudes if you crop off the face. No, this is just wrong. The problem with sharing any nude is that it can still be related to them (i.e. it was sent from their phone / account), and criminals can easily attach a face to the body to complete the nude again. And some cropping tools will keep the original image intact, but just display a cropped photo. i.e. the face can be restored.
- Children's lives get destroyed from sharing nudes. And I mean this literally, because they will sometimes commit suicide.
- Also consider that there are legal ramifications here for underage children sharing this type of content.
Fake Information, and Limited Information
- Encourage them to provide fake details in their social media accounts. e.g. Use a fake last name, email, DOB, location etc for social media accounts. This can protect against blackmail. e.g. This is a video of you, give me money or I'll release it to your friends.
- Also don't give out more info that you need to. For example, while a social media account may ask for your schooling history or job history, you can choose to not provide it.
Do a Search
- Use search engines to find your kids information online. i.e. search for their name, and see what comes up.
- When using search engines, they'll often provide different types of searches like "images", so definitely check that out to see if you recognise their photos anywhere.
- If you find their info / photos online, find out where they are displayed, and do what you can to remove them.