This is a guest post from Jordan Wertz. Jordan is the eastern Michigan Word of Life missionary specializing in children’s ministry. Jordan is also a Customer Development Representative at Covenant Eyes. Jordan and and his wife Bonnie live in Corunna, MI.
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Some of the most common terms typed into search engines by tweens (children between eight and twelve years-old) are “High School Musical,” “Hannah Montana” and “Rihanna.” The question is: when children type the name of their favorite musician or movie into a search engine looking for computer backgrounds, pictures or cell phone ring tones, what are they really going to be downloading?
Internet Security Company, McAfee, recently did research to discover which pop-culture searches were most likely to lead to infectious web pages. They found that the most dangerous search was for the song “Life’s What You Make It,” by Hannah Montana.
“McAfee research analyst Shane Keats tells Pop Watch that scammers closely follow popular culture in order to target children and other naïve and inexperienced Internet surfers. ‘When they first get to an offer for a Hannah Montana screensaver, they just click yes. Three or four clicks later, they’ve got a single image of Hannah Montana that may or may not be legal. They’re also going to give themselves porno pop-up ads.’”
Parents and leaders, we need to be on guard! We need to ensure that our children are not downloading dangerous software that might take them to pornographic web sites. Parents: don’t let your children surf the Internet in a room alone or in a place where you can’t see what they are doing. Shane Keats lists three different ways to protect children from these predatory websites:
“First, stick with the official sites; it’s safe to visit Disney’s pages if you’re looking for Hannah Montanabilia. Outside of the official sites, any free offer that sounds too good to be true probably is. Second, among search results, the engine-generated links tend to be safer than the sponsored links placed there by advertisers. Third, get some good security software.”