Smart TVs and Online Safety

With the rise in the numbers of smart television sales exploding in recent months as process tumble, there comes a growing Internet user base making use of that convenient medium. However, the same safety issues exist when using a shiny new flat screen LED TV with Internet connectivity as they do on a regular computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

This issue is especially evident in Internet use by minors who may not have access through their parents’ desktop or mobile devices, but now have it with their new, easy-to-use TV. Are parents aware of the controls they need to have in place when setting up their smart television sets? Many are, but you can be fairly certain plenty more are not.

The best way of raising awareness of the potential dangers inherent in Internet use no matter what device is used, is through education and becoming TV aware (see subtv.org). Added to that are repeated reminders of how to go about setting up parental controls to limit access to certain kinds of website and completely bar access to those that are known to be unsuitable for children.

There have been many instances of misuse of certain social websites by individuals who prey on young ones and use their inexperience to gain their trust. Similarly, criminals are forever on the lookout for easy access to sensitive personal details and by gaining the trust of children in chat rooms and online forums they can harvest the details require without having to resort to difficult and very hit and miss programmable computer attacks.

The kind of details they tend to target most are banking, debit and credit card details, store card details, full names and real addresses, names of family members living at an address, vehicle registration information etc. They may also try to obtain card pin numbers, financial website login details including passwords and even social account details.

Data thieves can use such information to create false identities along with online identities to increase credibility and then use them to gain passports and other official documentation or to steal information from other sources. International terrorist organizations are known to target such information to further their own causes and wreak havoc in ordinary people’s lives.

The important message for parents then is to ensure their children are aware of the potential dangers that exist from the many different areas when they surf online and use the Internet via their TV. They must then initiate the most effective controls to protect their personal information and that of their families. Further information can be found here: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide

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