VPN Technology for 'Child Safe' Internet

How does VPN technology work and how can it protect young people?


VPN technology is a configuration available in all new mobile phones, laptops. PCs and even Wi-Fi routers that enables forwarding all Internet traffic first to a remote server called ‘VPN Server’.

This technology is usually used by Enterprises to let their employees connect to their corporate servers securely and also enables a way for them to monitor everything from a single VPN server.

Most of today's children have the ability via their device to access any network which provides free access to the world wide web. This presents a whole host of risks and demonstrates how vulnerable today's children can actually be when given the opportunity to open many different doors to the internet without any protection.

How it works; Normal Internet Access

Friendly WiFi Internet Flow

Problems accessing the Internet without a VPN

The first problem is that it is the wi-fi router which assigns you the public IP address or in other words publishes your ‘location’. Every single entity in the path of communications knows your almost exact location. You can check this by navigating to any site like http://ipstack.com and see the amount of detail available to all third party websites and all networks in between.

Secondly, at every stage, the entities know which websites and applications you are accessing. If communications are unencrypted, they can also read it, watch it, listen to it, whatever the case may be. They can also keep a log of the activity and apply ‘policies’ as well. Common policies are to block some applications like some games or torrents or WhatsApp / Skype calling etc.

Internet access with VPN

When you connect VPN, it establishes a secure tunnel between you and the VPN servers. Nobody in between sees which websites or applications are being accessed. You are issued your public IP address by the VPN server instead of your wi-fi router.

Benefits of Internet access via a VPN include:

  • Hiding your location
  • Protection from snooping or un-trustworthy wifi hotspots
  • Stopping false alarms in online banking and other applications
  • Protection from eavesdroppers
  • Child protection features

    If you are interested in finding out more about VPN, Friendly WiFi Partners ‘SafeLabs’ have created a ‘Child Safe’ simple to use method allowing families to connect safely to the internet. They have launched a ‘Child Safe’ VPN service, which is easily applied to any device (PC, Laptop, mobile or tablet) giving parents and their children peace of mind that when browsing the internet they are protected from accessing inappropriate material. Read more.

    Friendly WiFi VPN Tunnel

  • Written by Friendly WiFi on June 14, 2019 09:04

    Have your say: Internet Crazes

    When the Internet and social media turns a fad into a global craze


    Momo HoaxWhen I was growing up, I remember countless fads and trends that came and went, either in the confines of school or within my group of friends at home. We could be trying to learn the latest cool trick with our ‘YoYos’, arming ourselves with plastic lemons full of water (our teachers hated that one!), skateboarding, scrambling on bicycles not built for the rough stuff and many more harmless activities that occupied us for a couple of months until the next big ‘thing’ came along.

    It’s fair to say, and I think you’ll agree, that there was nothing particularly dangerous or sinister about our childhood fads (apart from those, maybe, that experimented with smoking or alcohol); however, in these days of social media, the historically innocent world of fads and crazes appears to have found a much darker and frankly disturbing format that worryingly some children appear to be compelled to follow.

    In recent years, one of the most high-profile online crazes was the furore surrounding the Internet meme ‘Slenderman’ - a fictional supernatural character that was created on a horror Internet forum as part of a competition whereby users were asked to edit existing, everyday photographs to make them appear paranormal. The original poster submitted two black and white images of a group of children and added an abnormally tall and thin, phantom-like figure, in a black suit with no distinguishable facial features - this became known as the ‘Slenderman’. The whole phenomenon went viral on various social media, with a whole wealth of new photographs and stories appearing daily and it wasn’t long before claims were being made that the character was, in fact, real. In May 2014, however, two girls in Wisconsin took the phenomenon to a whole different, macabre level. When they allegedly took a twelve-year-old classmate to woods near their home and stabbed her 19 times, saying to the authorities later that they had attempted to commit a murder in order to become ‘proxies’ of the ‘Slenderman’ - their victim survived.

    Another craze started out as a drinking game in Australia. The original idea of the game, which was given the title of ‘Neknominate’ or ‘Neck and Nominate’ was to ‘neck’ an alcoholic drink (usually a pint of beer) and then nominate others to do the same. When comments, images and videos of ‘Neknominate’ participants started to appear on social media platforms it again went quickly viral. The problems with these crazes come when the competitive spirit of some the potential participants takes hold and they consequently raise the level of the challenges. In the case of ‘Neknominate’, it was alleged that five people died as a consequence of the challenges - one participant fatally downed a pint of vodka, whilst another died after reportedly mixing an entire bottle of wine, a quarter bottle of whiskey and a can of lager and ‘necking’ the lot!

    Thankfully, some good did come out of this irresponsible craze when a group of South Africans decided to turn it on its head and challenged others to carry out random acts of kindness for others - these also spread virally and picked up such titles as ‘Feed the Deed’ in Canada and ‘SmartNominate’ in France, which encouraged people taking part to give food to the homeless or donate blood.

    Unfortunately, it would appear that the spread of crazy and downright dangerous pursuits over social media shows no signs of letting up. In May 2015, the Mail Online reported on a new, and in my opinion, staggeringly stupid, craze called the ‘Fire Challenge’, where young people filmed themselves pouring an inflammable liquid over their bodies and setting themselves alight. There were alleged cases where stunts went wrong and the participants were left badly burned with a 15-year-old in the USA reportedly burned to death when his entire body was engulfed in flames.

    In more recent years we have faced other challenges from 'Am I pretty?', not a physically dangerous game but one which could destroy a teenage girls self-esteem, the 'Cinnamon Challenge' where participants tried to consume a spoonful of cinnamon powder', to the 'Blue Whale Challenge', which it has been suggested was a hoax, but nevertheless stories were found of young people taking their own lives as a result, to name just a few.

    An now we face, quite literally, Momo. This challenge has taken over the media in recent days, with warnings from schools, police, charities and more about the dangers it creates. In brief, this is also known as the ‘suicide game’ played on WhatsApp. It begins with a disturbing face appearing (this image is actually taken from a sculpture by a Japanese artist). This character encourages young people to add contacts on the messaging service and then replies with threats of violence, and encourages self-harm and suicide. It is suggested that those responsible for ‘Momo’ are hackers looking for information. However, as with the Blue Whale Challenge, it seems that this too is a hoax, but it can still be causing distress to young people.

    These days, social media provides a vehicle for fads and trends to spread virally throughout the global community like nothing else previously - even television cannot claim to have contributed to the proliferation of historical trends anywhere close to what the Internet can. The ubiquitous nature of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social platforms that can be accessed via desktop and mobile devices means that any potential phenomena can reach a huge audience very quickly.

    But not all Internet crazes are bad. A positive example of how a craze can go viral occurred in the US, by way of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, where a person dumps or has dumped on by friends, a bucket of ice water over their heads to promote awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and encourage donations to charities involved in research of the disease. In the UK, people took part in order to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

    It is often a great experience when you feel part of a movement or phenomena, you can say to friends “yeah, I did that too!” You feel part of an exclusive club or community and if the common activity is a force for good like helping a charity or showing kindness then long may it continue, but when it comes fads or crazes that demand risky pursuits, I am reminded what my parents said whilst chastising me, as a child, when I had done something stupid following the lead of a so-called friend:

    “If Joe Smith jumped off a cliff would you follow and jump off too?”


    Have your say

    Have you had experience of social media trends in your school? What is your school doing to tackle the issue? What positive outcomes have you seen from talking to pupils about this? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions using the comments section below.

    Written by Steve Gresty on February 28, 2019 14:25

    Childnet 2017 Film Competition Winners Announced

    Young people’s internet safety films to be used as educational resources, as Childnet announce national winners of its 2017 Film Competition


    Childnet Competition 2017 EventLeading online safety charity Childnet announced the winners of the eighth annual Childnet Film Competition at a private screening held for the competition finalists and industry guests at the British Film Institute on London’s Southbank.

    Judged by a panel of experts from the BBC, BBFC and the BFI, the two winning schools and the four other finalists will now see their films used as internet safety resources to educate other young people about how to ‘Be the change’ and use the internet positively and safely.

    The Childnet Film Competition was founded in 2010 to harness the positive role of peer-to-peer education and provide a creative and inclusive approach to empower and inspire young people aged 7-18 to use technology safely, positively and creatively.

    Through the process the young people create valuable resources to educate their peers about staying safe online and develop their own understanding of what it means to be a good digital citizen.

    Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet, said:
    “The Childnet Film Competition is a great opportunity for young people to showcase their creative skills by creating engaging and educational videos to spread key online safety messages. The standard of entries this year has been exceptionally high and it’s clear to us that these young people are really passionate about making the internet a better place for all. All of the finalists’ films will be invaluable resources to help educate other young people about online safety.”

    The competition invites schools and youth organisations from across the UK to capture their internet safety messages in a short film. This year, the film competition invited young people to think about how young people can come together and make a positive change online.

    Childnet Education Projects Officer, Becky Nancarrow, said:
    “This year’s Film Competition theme, ‘Be the change’, was all about inspiring young people to think about how they as young people can change the way that they use the internet for good. Today we not only saw the time and dedication that has gone into creating these films but the passion young people have for creating a better internet for everyone. It’s amazing that the young people’s films will continue to have an even wider impact, as they become resources for schools and youth groups to use”.

    With over 127 entries from across the two categories; primary and secondary, entries ranged from animated films, to dramas about cyberbullying, to a news story about the positive uses of the internet. 6 schools attended the finalists’ event at the BFI in London before seeing their films on the big screen.

    The films were judged by David Austin OBE Chief Executive at the BBFC, Catherine McAllister Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection BBC Children’s, and Joanna van der Meer Film Tutor and Family Learning Programmer at BFI Southbank.

    The winners of this year’s Film Competition were St Michael in the Hamlet Primary School in the primary category with their film Be the Change: It starts with us. In the secondary category the winners were Dover College with their film Trouser Boy.

    The winning films from the Childnet Film Competition can be viewed here: www.childnet.com/filmcompetition

    Childnet Winners 2017

    Quotes from the Film Competition 2017 finalists’ event

    ‘The film competition puts online safety into a practical setting, in school or at home children don’t always get it, but putting those messages into a film they get into it and understand it more because it’s encouraging them to do something for themselves; something that’s big, that other people will see, and something that’s fun.’ – Teacher

    ‘I think it’s a great way of teaching children how to be safe, because it’s also a fun way of being in a competition, so it’s competitive. Through the competition I learnt that even if you do something wrong you can always find a way to make it better’ - Young person, primary category winner

    ‘I think this competition is really good for teaching people about online safety, on top of that we had a lot of fun doing the video! It took us a few hours and overall the experience was really good for us, and today was just the highlight’ – Young person, secondary category winner

    Written by Childnet International on July 13, 2017 09:38


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