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Parents ‘out of control’ in regulating kids’ activities

Half of parents trust kids to regulate their online activity, despite 70% being unable to regulate their own

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recent global study conducted by Kaspersky has found that, in a bid to promote self-regulation online, 52% of parents globally trust their kids to know when enough is enough. However, 70% of parents admit that they themselves spend too much time online. Almost three quarters (72%) feel that Internet and mobile device usage in general is impeding family life.

There is little doubt that digital activities can be addictive, and seriously distract children from real-world adventure. But over half of modern parents trust their children when it comes to time dedicated to the internet, and what is more interesting is that this practice is more common among fathers. Dads seem to be more trusting of their children to know when to take a break, with nearly three in five (57%) taking this approach, compared to less than half (48%) of moms.

But it’s not just a matter of being trusted to turn off where parents relinquish control. 40% of them do not feel the need to control or oversee their children’s online activities or internet usage at all. This could be a risky strategy as, despite kids’ familiarity with online applications and navigating the internet, cyber-risks are only a click away.

Along with this approach to their children’s online activity, the survey also shows that parents are not restrictive about their own mobile phone habits or the amount of time spent on the internet: 70% recognised that they are somewhat addicted to the web. Furthermore, 84% of them admitted that they have used Internet-connected or mobile devices in front of their child or children at home, and half of parents (51%) have sometimes allowed internet and mobile devices to interrupt a conversation with their children.

“Internet and digital services offer kids a wide range of engaging content, and can take ahold of their attention for a long time,” says Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky. “It must also be remembered that the real world can be even more engaging, especially if parents are ready to invest their time and spend it together with kids, doing joint activities. This time is actually even more important and valuable for families and friends, to connect, create special bonds and share memories.”

To help your children allocate their time appropriately online, Kaspersky recommends taking the following steps:

  • Show your care by putting down your device at moments when your children need your attention
  • If you feel your child is spending too much time online, don’t rush to put limits in place. Instead discuss it with them calmly, so as not to provoke a negative reaction which could do damage in the long term
  • Make leisure time more varied and appealing so your child actively wants to spend time away from their device. This could be trying out a new sport or doing more activities as a family
  • Discuss ground rules around social media use and other communications tools, so it does not affect schoolwork or interaction with friends in the real world
  • Introduce rules for the whole family, so children don’t feel singled out or unfairly restricted in their internet use. This could include no phones at the dinner table, having a curfew on device usage or even leaving devices downstairs at bedtime
  • The Family edition of Kaspersky Security Cloud incorporates Kaspersky Safe Kids which will help to guard your family and private data, as well as protect your kids online and beyond

For further advice on how to keep your children safe online, read renowned psychologist Emma Kenny’s post with her top tips on tackling online safety conversations here.

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TikTok takes on COVID-19

The fastest growing social media platform in the world has also become an epicenter of public education about the coronavirus, attracting more than 30-billion views, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The young have been getting a bad rap for wanting to party on while COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown. But a different movie is playing itself out on the social platform that is growing fastest among teenagers: TikTok.

Awareness campaigns by TikTok itself, collaboration with the International Red Cross, and spontaneous videos made by TikTok creators have combined into a barrage of information, education, awareness and social consciousness around the coronavirus.

Both globally and in South Africa, TikTok’s COVID-19 campaigns have gone viral.

The local #HayiCorona challenge, designed to remind people not to touch their face and wash hands regularly, has passed 1.5-million views. The TikTok collaboration with the International Red Cross, the #WashingHands challenge, has passed 12.6-million views.

One of the best-known participants in these challenges is the past year’s icon of South African talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir, took up the global challenge with a 20-second hand-washing video. It put together a performance that brings tremendous energy to what can be a clichéd message, and ends with a punt for the Department of Health’s WhatsApp information service. The video can be viewed below.

@ndlovuyouthchoir

Our community has limited access to running water. Follow these instructions on how to safely wash your hands using a bucket. ##coronavirus##washinghands

♬ original sound – ndlovuyouthchoir

“On a global scale, TikTok also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that, while creators are still having fun and expressing themselves on the platform, they stay informed with COVID-19 information coming from a reliable source,” a TikTok spokesperson told us. “Through the partnership, the WHO has created an informational page on TikTok that offers information to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as dispelling myths.”

The page can be viewed at https://vm.tiktok.com/GHTEGf

TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, attracting users from more than 70 countries, tuning in for live question and answer sessions. It has also introduced labels on coronavirus-related videos, to point users to trusted information. Resources are also offered directly in the app and in a dedicated COVID-19 section of TikTok’s Safety Center, at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/covid-19.

If users simply want to explore videos on the topic, they can search via the #coronavirus hashtag, or click on https://vm.tiktok.com/swKbn4. The hashtag has had an astonishing 33.8-billion views, indicating the scale of activity and interest around the topic on the platform.

Read more on the next page about how South Africans have embraced the campaign.

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On World Backup Day: backup, backup, backup

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It was World Backup Day yesterday, 31 March, at a time when business continuity is threatened as never before. That makes calls for protecting email and defending against ransomware all the more urgent.

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief many organisations’ lack of business continuity plans and policies. With more than two billion people around the globe in forced lockdown in wide-ranging government efforts to stem the tide of infections, an unprecedented number of employees are working remotely.

This interruption to the normal way of work is precisely what an effective and resilient business continuity strategy should plan for, says Heino Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast

“Companies need uninterrupted access to critical business applications during times of disruption, including safe and secure web and email access for workers that are now operating outside the normal perimeters of the organisation,” he says. “In addition, comprehensive backup and archiving solutions should be ready to restore access to critical business applications should there be any unplanned downtime to ensure continuity until the crisis passes.”

According to Gevers, the current global crisis is likely to push business continuity up the list of priorities for many organisations that have been disrupted by the effects of the coronavirus.

“Organisations are facing new challenges to their productivity; for example in terms of technical support. If a remote user is infected with malware or ransomware, how does the IT team restore that device or do any remediation without being able to physically access it?”

Gevers advises that organisations implement tools that enhances the data protection capabilities of commonly-used tools such as Office365 and can leverage archived data to provide quick recovery of email data in the event of accidental loss, malicious attacks or technical failure. 

“As adoption of cloud-based business applications grow in the wake of forced lockdowns around the globe, companies need to ensure they have the tools to recover in any situation,” he says. “This includes a data management strategy that combines archiving, backup and data protection capabilities to allow for quick restoration of critical systems and applications in the event of disruption.”

Jasmit Sagoo, head of technology at Veritas for the United Kingdom and Ireland, warns that this is a golden age for cybercriminals looking for ransomware opportunities.

“As the global cost of ransomware continues to grow, this World Backup Day, Veritas is saying: ‘don’t pay up, back up!’,” he says. “Ransomware is said to generate an estimated annual revenue of $1 billion a year, and companies who are not consistent in backing up their data are allowing criminals to line their pockets.

“Ransomware attacks exist only because some businesses can’t survive unless the hackers give them back their data.  So, the key to survival is removing that reliance and being able to regain access to data, without engaging with the cybercriminals.  The best way to do that is with a sound backup strategy.

“Sagoo advises organisations to create isolated, offline backup copies of their data to keep it out of reach of any attackers.  They then need to proactively monitor and restrict backup credentials, while running backups frequently to shrink the risk of potential data loss. Businesses should also test and retest their ransomware defences regularly.

“Ransomware strikes without warning and it doesn’t discriminate between its targets – it can happen to any organisation, large or small. Despite their best efforts, most companies will fall to at least one attack. What distinguishes one victim from another is the ability to bounce back, which ultimately depends on its backup strategy.

“When ransomware hits, organisations that aren’t prepared often feel helpless to do anything other than to submit to their attacker’s demands.   That’s why we’re urging all businesses to use World Backup Day as a catalyst to get ahead of the situation and get their data protected.”

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