ESET, a global leader in digital security, has launched its Safer Kids Online platform – a resource site dedicated to building a safer online environment for children in India.
The website offers resources – in the form of videos, articles, and expert insight – for children, parents, and teachers with the aim to enable children to enjoy the full potential of the internet in a secure digital world.
As a result of the shift to digitalisation that has been accelerated by the pandemic, children today can access digital devices and online platforms for various activities, ranging from online learning and video streaming to online games and social media. However, this also puts them at greater risk of encountering online threats. Against this backdrop, it is critical to provide children with guidance and equip them with the essential skills to remain safe while navigating in an online environment.
According to the ESET APAC Consumer Cybersecurity Survey 2021, 94% of parents in India take various actions such as using parental control applications, checking internet browser history, and limiting screen time to ensure that their children are safe from online threats. Despite the actions taken, 21% of Indian parents said their children had been exposed to inappropriate content online. In addition, 78% of them have not spoken to their children about cybersecurity.
Commenting on the initiative, Parvinder Walia, President of Asia Pacific and Japan, ESET, said,
"Cybersecurity can be a relatively new concept for some parents, as it was not taught in schools in the past. The Safer Kids Online initiative aims to empower parents, teachers and children in India to learn more about cyber wellness and how kids can stay safe online by providing free resources and materials. These materials – which are jointly developed by ESET’s cybersecurity experts and child psychologists - are designed to be fun and engaging for children across all ages. Through this initiative, we hope to play a role in protecting the safety and well-being of children online, and we remain committed to keeping the Internet safe for everyone."
The Safer Kids Online website includes a host of resources suitable for younger children, teenagers, and their parents, which have all been developed in consultation with a notable child psychologist and ESET’s cybersecurity experts. The resources will provide guidance and advice for children and adults on how to stay safe online and will be geared around key monthly topics. The topics include how to manage screen time, looking out for signs of cyberbullying, and protecting children from online predators. Each of these monthly topics will include targeted resources for different ages such as:
- ● A video series for kids aimed at ages 7+
- ● Animated comics for older children aged 11+
- ● An in-depth explanation in the form of expert articles and vlogs for parents
Quizzes and prize contests will also be available in which parents can win attractive prizes for their children.
The Safer Kids Online site will also provide free software, namely ESET Parental Control for Android, which allows parents to look after their children’s online well-being. ESET Parental Control includes the possibility of controlling inappropriate web content and managing the amount of time kids spend on certain devices, as well as the suitability of the applications they’re using. This allows parents to limit their child’s use of certain sites and receive reports on his or her online activities, hopefully becoming aware of any issues before they become entrenched.
ESET’s future plans include running child online safety initiatives in regions around the world – from Europe and Asia to the USA and Latin America – in cooperation with its partners and local NGOs. With so many resources at the fingertips of families across the globe, ESET will provide parents and schools everywhere with the tools they need to keep their kids safe online – now and in the future.
The first country to run such cooperation is the United Kingdom. ESET UK has come on board as a Gold Partner alongside specialist child safety NGO Internet Matters, providing significant contributions to guide policy and educate. In 2020, ESET also became an official partner of AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust, which saw ESET specialists providing support for the club’s Safer Kids Online Internet safety project.