Let’s put this simply to begin: you don’t want your children to search the deep web or dive in the dark net. These would be, generally speaking, bad things.
In recent years, though, it’s gotten progressively easier to hide on the dark web. The code for The Onion Router (TOR) is getting a revamp in 2017, with the goal being stronger encryption — and letting administrators easily create full dark net sites that can only be discovered by a long string of essentially-unguessable characters. This could signal a next generation of hidden services. In the past, some of these sites have used a .onion address and declared that to hidden service directories. Now, it appears there will be an unique cryptographic key, and said key will be given to TOR hidden service directories. It’ll be a way for the dark net to become a bit easier to stay dark.
In the context of all this, how do you best protect your family? While some dark net sites are primarily in existence to avoid censorship in countries like China, there is a lot of non-family-friendly material on the dark web. You don’t want your children seeing a good portion of this content. How do you ensure that?
There is a fine line in these discussions, because it does involve some monitoring of your children’s activity online — and some parents don’t want to cross that line. But because of an increasing amount of pedophiles and illegal drugs on the dark web, vigilance is crucial. Some approaches include:
- Be aware of what your kids search for/talk about with their friends
- Check with their school to see how Internet research is being taught and monitored
- Use the right software and trackers (I can be asked about some good options if you’d like)
- Talk to them about the different types of content one comes across on the web
- Explain to them explicitly what the dark web is vs. the “normal” web
- Talk to them about the realities of cyber-bullying, which often occurs in dark web formats
Also bad, although less-discussed: many students use the dark web to cheat their way through high school, so have realistic discussions with your kids about what is happening in all their classes and how they view it contextually. If they don’t have good answers or backgrounds about what they’re learning, ask how they’re completing some of their work. If they stumble over those answers, there’s a chance dark web sites might be involved — and then you know it’s time to look at their histories.