Disturbing indeed. Cyberbullying has jumped to the next level.
Yesterday, I heard a story about a family from a small town in Massachusetts. Two siblings and their parents were victims of cyberbullying via hacking, and the perpetrators? They were two middle school kids.
What they did is shocking.
These tech-savvy tweens hacked into each mobile device and laptop owned by this family of 4. The hackers, again, middle school kids, got control of the families smartphones and laptops and were then able to access the cameras on each of those devices. They took pictures of the victims without them knowing they were being photographed.
Snapshots of the mom, dad and two kids at random times, while using their own, personal devices. The perpetrators then sent those pictures to the kids and to the parents, along with threats.
What would you do if you were sent images of yourself? Maybe while focused on a round of Candy Crush, or maybe a picture of you engrossed in writing an email? Even worse, imagine if someone hacked into your built-in camera and took photos of you, while you were watching pornography?
Well, this family did what most of us might do. Totally disturbed by the hacking, the parents pulled the kids from school with 6 weeks left and they all went to stay with family in another state.
How these kids did this is still under investigation, but the takeaway for parents is clear.
Every parent needs to be hyper-vigilant about what is happening on their child’s mobile device.
Parents need to be alerted to suspicious activity on their kid’s devices, and the only software on the market that does this is Social Judo. What parents don’t need is to spend countless hours scrolling through every message, email, social media post, or photo on their child’s device.
All you need to do is set an alert specific to your concerns as a parent. You will be notified, in real-time, if that word, phrase, location or website has been used/accessed/visited by your child.
Is Cell Phone Hacking Really Serious?
CBS News did a story about a cyber-company named iSEC which showed staff technicians demonstrating how easy it is to see someone’s texts, cell phone calls and other information on a smartphone.
Now, it is doubtful that the middle school bullies, who targeted this family, used the same hacking system that CBS news described. But it is pretty scary to think that there are so many different ways to hack our devices, some tweens can figure out and some that cost money that professional hackers are willing to spend.
The effects of hacking are far-reaching, and unfortunately, not many people realize just how vulnerable their smartphone is to being hacked. While criminals and bullies tend to make the headlines, anyone can learn how to do this with minimal effort. Hacking instructions can easily be found on the internet for anyone to download.
I did a quick Google search and got 1,360,000 hits in .36 seconds.
Parents, technology is so advanced that people can actually listen to your child’s calls, read their emails and text messages, access their photos, and store and pass on that information to outside sources.
How to Find Out if You or Your Child is a Victim of Cell Phone Hacking:
Experts offer the following tips;
- Pay attention to any sounds made during calls on your phone. If you hear strange, unfamiliar clicking sounds in the background, or notice that the caller’s voice is echoing, this can be an indication that someone is trying to connect, hack and to listen.
- If your phone lights up by itself or turns on or off by itself, you need to investigate further. Some phones can be controlled through remote access, seriously dangerous hacking.
- If your phone/battery feel hot to the touch, check for spyware.
- How many of us look at our cell phone bills? Not many. Check your phone bill. If you are charged double, or triple for every call or text you made, it may mean that spyware is being used to send your transactions somewhere else.
But, the number one thing you can do to protect your family from hackers?
Get Social Judo today, you won’t have to worry for another minute.
You will be alerted, in real time, to anything you choose to be alerted about. It’s not spying, it is parenting, but mostly, it is peace of mind.
Andrea Difilippo is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, nationally recognized parenting expert and Chief Parenting Officer with Social Judo.