Getting Started and the reason for Being!

The Internet of things.

The internet has become a pervasive part of our lives. The use of technology is growing and consuming everything, from our computers and phones to our cars and fridges. One day soon you may get a message from your grass to let you know its time to mow the lawn.

As technology invades more of our daily life, the need for protecting oneself has increased exponentially. One can no longer simply pick up a piece of equipment and think that you are safe and secure while using it.

My parents taught me how to cross the road, “Look left then right then left again…” (unless you live in a part of the world where you drive on the other side.)  Just as they gave me this ability to navigate the world, it is my responsibility to teach my children to navigate safely in the online world.

Who am I.

I am a Software Engineer. I am married with four beautiful kids and a wonderful wife.  My kids range in ages from young to “thinks I’m an adult!”

I love technology and the uses of it in our everyday life. I worry about the affects that technology is having on our lives and how it is affecting my kids growing up. I am also concerned about the dangers that they face which I never did.

Reason for this.

I recently completed by Masters degree in Software Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. My final research project was based on Internet security and Banking Internet Security. The conclusion of my research was that most people are unaware of the real dangers on the internet.

The Banking institutions that were researched, have implemented many security steps and feel that they have done enough. Therefore the user takes the risk if correct software is not installed on the users PC.

Very few users were aware of simple terms like Spyware. Some are not even running anti-virus applications. Many users feel that these extra software applications simply make the computer run slower and do not give any advantage.

Solutions and the way forward.

I volunteer in my neighbourhood for a wonderful organisation called  Venishmartem. We go around installing filters and other tools onto home computers as well as mobile phones. Through this organisation, I have come into contact with many people and have seen that most people are afraid of technology and have no understanding on how to use it, and how to monitor what their kids are doing on the devices.

The problem is that most parents are “scared” of technology. It is known that kids know more than adults about how technology works. This is a problem because adults need to know at least enough about each system to know the dangers and what precautions must be taken.

The purpose of this blog will be to try and explain some of the technologies being used, and to suggest some solutions to the dangers which they can bring with them.

Communication

I am in no way perfect and have stumbled many times in this area. I hope that I learn from my mistakes! My children have access to the internet and smartphones. I try to place filters on all the devices, but these are not fool proof and can be bypassed (sometimes on purpose and sometimes accidentally)

The biggest lesson that I have learnt from these misadventures is the need for open and honest communication with your children. You cannot simply block social networks and expect them to agree with your decision. But you can sit with them and discuss the dangers and then decide how to go forward.

Conclusion

Technology is not something that can be switched off. It is an integral part of our daily life. The future will only bring more connections and more devices connected. Being prepared is the only way to prevent the dangers which will come.

Hopefully I have explained where I come from and what my aims are with this blog. I would appreciate any comments and suggestions on the way forward.

Joseph

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