Parents, here’s how to monitor your kids studying online from home

ATLANTA — With so many kids doing school virtually, the opportunity for hackers and scammers to find and take advantage of them has grown exponentially.

Channel 2 Action News anchor Jorge Estevez spoke with Consumer Advisor Clark Howard, who says there are options for parents working from home to keep tabs as to where their kids may wander off to on the internet.

“Yeah, this is a real problem because kids end up spending a lot of that time online at places we’re not so excited about,” Howard said. “And so, as parents, you need to monitor, and if you can’t closely monitor what your kids are up to, there are software programs that you can subscribe to that will alert you to what your kids are doing.”

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There have been multiple reports and incidents of hackers jumping into online calls. There is also an ongoing risk of e-mail spam or phishing scams for everyone on the internet. While schools are generally considered a safe place, it doesn’t always work out that way.

“So, kids on their own though are heavily doing things that we don’t know they’re up to,” Howard said. “So, you can use programs that are either permissive or restrictive."

Howard explained that ‘permissive’ access is where the child can’t go to a site unless you’ve approved it in advance using software. ‘Restrictive’ access is where you restrict access to a site depending on the age of the child.

“Younger kid’s parents tend to do more permissive,” Howard said. " Older, they do restrictive. But one thing not to do as a parent is just look the other way.”

For parents, it just adds to the list of things they have to monitor over the course of a “virtual school day,” but Howard and other experts said in the current environment, it’s the safest course of action.