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 Dangers Of Making Parents Raise Kids In A World Without Encryption

Natalie Campbell, a Community Organizer and Director of Public Advocacy at the Internet Society, is warning against banning or weakening encryption for kids' safety online. 

Governments and law enforcement authorities also seek to prohibit or undermine a vital mechanism to keep our children safe online. We have to stand up for our children as parents and guardians.

Children who are lucky enough to have access to the Internet are more online than ever before, and many are increasingly studying online. Yet these environments are tempting opportunities for predators, and parents and schools often lack the tools to instruct children about how to stay safe while looking, socializing, and exploring the web.

Fortunately, encryption has got our back. If sending a sensitive letter to a friend, video conferencing with families, or submitting an assignment to a teacher, platforms, and programs that use end-to-end encryption will help keep our children secure by keeping the communication line private sender and the receiver.

Nevertheless, some governments, law enforcement authorities, and even some child welfare agencies seek to strip away the most effective digital tool we have as parents to keep kids safe online. "The European Commission, United Kingdom, America, and Germany, are all suggesting bills to forbid or undermine encryption by compelling organizations to create policies to gain "backdoor access" to communications to capture cybercriminals.

Here's the issue: 

There's no way to give access to the good guys to secure messages without granting it to the bad guys as well. What does that mean, then? Think about all the private information exchanged over the Internet with individuals in places of confidence regarding the desires, schedule, fitness, and behaviors of your children: parents, educators, peers, and healthcare providers. Do we really want the authority to suggest that we can't use the best locks to keep our information private?

Banning or undermining encryption is like suggesting that we can't place curtains and locks on our children's bedroom windows, leaving them infinitely more vulnerable to someone on the Internet who tries to creep in. And it's not about having children at risk.

People worldwide rely more than ever on end-to-end encryption to remain secure while studying, socializing, shopping and banking amid the current pandemic. And we are gradually performing these activities on the same networking channels that policymakers are pushing to build backdoors for encryption.

Governments are right to think about how best to keep our kids safe online. But if they succeed in restricting or undermining any aspect of the online safety that the encryption provides our children, they would leave them more vulnerable to the same terrorists, predators, and other nightmares that we all want to escape online.

Some Top Dangers Faced By Kids Online

  • Cyber Predators

  • Cyberbullying

  • Revealing Private Information

  • Downloading Malware Accidentally

  • Phishing

  • Falling for Scams

  • Content that Resurrects to Haunt a Child Later in Life.

Final Thoughts

The Plea is: Internet access to such a vital resource for our children's learning, socializing, exploration, and mental wellbeing, let's make sure they have healthy, highly encrypted spaces.

As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to demand the best personal protection equipment to keep our children safeguarded from harm – both in real life and online.

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