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Artificial Intelligence (AI) – what are the kids learning?

AI uses enormous data sets to determine patterns and provide answers to questions. You may be asking where those data sets come from and what is in them. The data sets are sold by companies that collect information from all over the internet as well as information that is sold to them by companies. Yep, that’s right – your personal information can be included in data sets although in theory it is scrubbed of your name and address. As to what is in the data sets, the companies won’t tell us because it’s proprietary information. As of May 2023, 58% of teens aged 12 to 18 said they had used ChatGPT, the most popular AI app. Recent issues with AI that have been reported:

  • Bias in Representation: If the training data is biased towards certain ethnic, socio-economic, or gender groups, the AI system may provide tailored content that is biased against others. This can hinder learning and perpetuate stereotypes. This can be something as simple as the lack of representation of low-population states such as Wyoming in answers about U.S. history.
  • Exposure to Inappropriate Content: A flawed algorithm may inadvertently expose young users to harmful or inappropriate content, impacting their emotional well-being.
  • Privacy Concerns: If mishandled or misinterpreted, children's personal information within datasets can lead to privacy breaches, creating opportunities for exploitation. Youngsters may not understand how information they type into an AI application (or any computer application) may be used by the owner of the app.

CyberWyoming’s advice: If your child is allowed to use ChatGPT for their schoolwork, have the child write their own paper first and then insert it into ChatGPT. Then the original work is their own and ChatGPT is just editing it.

Scams that target children and teens:

  • In-Game Purchases Scams: Many children and teens play online games. Scammers may pose as fellow players and trick them into purchasing in-game items with real money.
  • Social Media Scams: Scammers might use social media platforms popular among teens to spread phishing links or fake contests. By clicking on these, children may inadvertently download malware or share personal information.
  • Fake Celebrity Follows or Friend Requests: Scammers may create fake profiles, pretending to be celebrities or popular online personalities. They use these profiles to connect with teens and might solicit personal information or financial details under false pretenses.
  • Subscription Traps: Some scammers target teens with seemingly free online subscriptions for products or services, like beauty products or magazines. The small print, however, might commit them to a costly monthly subscription, trapping them into recurring charges.
  • Cyberbullying and Extortion: Though not a scam in the traditional sense, some malicious actors specifically target children or teens with threats and extortion tactics online. They may trick them into sharing compromising information or images and then threaten to distribute these unless they pay money. (Note that this has been reported in Wyoming communities!)
  • Online Marketplaces for Kids: Some online marketplaces are tailored to children, selling toys, clothes, or other kids' products. Scammers may set up fake shops, enticing kids and teens with popular items at low prices.
  • Homework Help and Tutoring Scams: Teens looking for academic assistance may encounter fraudulent offers for tutoring or homework help.
  • YouTube and TikTok Scams: Platforms like YouTube and TikTok, popular among younger audiences, may host content promoting scams. For example, videos promising free gift cards or products can lead to phishing sites designed to collect personal information and surveys can be used to try to collect password reset questions.

What can you do to protect your children?

  • Parental Control Software: Apps like Norton Family, Net Nanny, and Qustodio allow parents to monitor and control their child's online activities, block harmful content, and set time limits.
  • Internet Security Suites: Comprehensive security software like McAfee, Bitdefender, or Norton offer features such as safe browsing, anti-phishing, and real-time scanning for malicious links or content.
  • Web Browsers with Child Safety Features: Some web browsers like Zoodles or KIDOZ are designed with child safety in mind, providing filtered search results and blocking potentially harmful sites.
  • Educational Apps and Games: Tools like Google's Be Internet Awesome provide interactive lessons and games that teach children essential internet safety skills, including recognizing and avoiding scams.
  • Ad Blockers: Ad-blocking extensions can prevent potentially harmful or deceptive advertisements from appearing, reducing the risk of clicking on phishing links.
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): VPN services add an extra layer of privacy and security to online browsing, reducing risks associated with unsecured connections.
  • Built-in Parental Controls: Many devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, come with built-in parental controls that allow for the restriction of certain websites, apps, or content. Tip: One of our CyberWyoming staffers is a parent and she shut off her children’s device IP addresses using her wireless router at 10 p.m. each school night. The kids were told that the internet went out at that time each night so they didn’t complain.
  • Monitoring social media: Using apps like Bark, parents can monitor their child's social media activity for signs of cyberbullying or engagement with potentially harmful content.
  • Collaboration with Schools: Parents can engage with schools & educators to understand what tools or educational programs are being used to teach internet safety and how they can reinforce these.
  • Educating children about internet dangers: Beyond technical tools, educating children about online scams, phishing tactics, and the importance of never sharing personal information with strangers.

MS-ISAC and CISA Patch Now Alert:

The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) or the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for Adobe products, Microsoft products, Google Android, Macintosh OS. If you use these products, make sure the software (or firmware) is updated.

Please report scams you may experience to [email protected] to alert your friends and neighbors.

Other ways to report a scam:

  • Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker: bbb.org/scamtracker/us/reportscam
  • Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection 307-777-6397, 800-438-5799 or [email protected]
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov
  • Report your scam to the FBI at www.ic3.gov/complaint
  • Reported unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registration. Online at donotcall.gov/report.html or call 1-888-382-1222, option 3
  • Office of the Inspector General: oig.ssa.gov
  • AARP Fraud Watch Network (any age welcome) Helpline 877-908-3360
  • IRS: report email scams impersonating the IRS to [email protected]
  • Call the Wyoming Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for assistance with potential Medicare fraud, abuse, or errors at 1 800 856-4398
  • Victim Support: The AARP Fraud Watch Network and Volunteers of America (VOA) created a new, free program to provide emotional support for people impacted by a scam or fraud, called ReST. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more about the free program and register

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