Aspects to Consider When Building a Children-Safe Smart Home

Aspects to Consider When Building a Children-Safe Smart Home

  • Technology developments have reached a point in which we can’t deny the role they play in our daily life. Either by providing entertainment or only to make our life easier, we are constantly exposing our life to the hazards of the internet as every single one of these “smart devices” require network access to work.

    Why is that happening? We can answer that question by stating the importance of tracking the user’s habits as a way of giving the best service for the value (i.e.: your browsing history, wake up time, hours logged at certain apps, etc.). However, by doing so, we are also opening a gate for hackers to get familiarised with our routines, exposing our lives to the internet of things.

    Fortunately, there are many ways to craft a safe, smart home these days, especially when children are involved due to the potential link between online gaming and hacker’s attacks. Let’s take a look at what can we do to protect our household!

    The Importance of Firewalls

    The very first step we ought to take when building a safe, smart home is to set up a proper Firewall, from a trusted brand, and most preferably a combination of both hardware and software firewalls.

    Hardware firewalls can be acquired as a feature in high-end routers, and the most important aspect to consider is the packet filtering technology for analysing the source and destination of data, filtering unrequested or suspicious activities.

    Photo courtesy of picjumbo.com

    Software firewalls can be quickly installed on our computers, helping us to prevent the access of Trojans, e-mail viruses, etc. The only downside is that every computer will require its firewall as there aren’t network solutions for software firewalls, though you are adding a strong layer of protection for facing the potential net hazards known to date.

    The Smart Assistant Factor

    With the well-known hype of products like Amazon Echo and Google Home, many households have opted for including these useful products as part of their lives. It’s not just a matter of trends, as we can analyse the strong and weak points of both products in this article courtesy of allpowermoves.com, but a way of understanding how does the XXI-century home tends to behave.

    In case we aren’t familiarised with what these products have to offer, voice recording is the way in which these devices operate, taking our commands as orders for making online shopping, managing applications but close-by future can promise us the possibility of managing appliances through voice command.

    Whereas it would be possible for hackers to infiltrate those conversations, both Google and Amazon have set strong protection layers to prevent such breach, as devices are always recording conversations from users. As a parent, you can track back the Google Home’s recordings through the web and get a clear idea of what’s going on in your home when you happen to be away – not to mention suspicious searches through the net.

    When Cameras Can Become Enemies

    Even if we properly adjusted our firewalls and explained routines of safe networking to our children, it is important to acknowledge the possibility of hackers accessing to our data through the very webcams of laptops and computers. That scenario that seems to be taken out of a Criminal Minds’ episode is a hazard to consider these days, hence the importance of blocking any sensitive recording from being accessed by strangers.

    Teach your children to avoid online chats with strangers, especially under gaming circumstances. As confident as they may seem on whose they happen to be playing with, identity theft is a common occurrence in those ambiences, where the “cool 10-year old playmate” could be a 40-something cybercriminal.

    Photo courtesy of FOX

    In case you don’t trust your resources to protect what’s going on when you are not around, simple ways of preventing webcam usage can be implemented as using parent filtering software, uninstalling the drivers of your webcam, or the old-fashioned tape method, as funny as that option might be seen.

    The Point Between Naive and Too Cautious

    There is no reason for being paranoid on what’s going on with our electronic devices; however, do consider the possibility of a breach, even in those appliances that may seem silly enough to take seriously. We can quickly check a list of devices that are capable of using internet access, alongside with tips to consider for preventing security breaches in this infographic courtesy of ForRent.com

    Approach this smart-home experience as you would do when buying a house: nothing should be left to consideration, and children ought to be instructed that the internet isn’t just a playground for chatting with their friends or spending countless hours logged on social media and games – hazards might be walking to your direction, and today is the time to prevent them.