Tech savvy teens are now commonly using VPN technology for a variety of concerning reasons. So, what does VPN mean and how are teens using them illegally?
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure connection between two devices, allowing the exchange of data or information to happen privately using the internet.
Today, VPN technology is widely used for other purposes - many of which are illegal. It’s also now used by teenagers for various reasons that are concerning parents and schools. Cyber Expert and Clinical Psychologist Jordan Foster from ySafe has identified the three most common reasons teens use VPNs.
1. To override their school’s web filtering
‘Schools often require kids to bring their own laptop or iPad to school, which they then need to connect to the school’s WiFi,’ explains Jordan. ‘Because the school’s WiFi will block social media and inappropriate content, teens will use a VPN app or website to access all of the blocked websites and apps.’
2. To use the internet anonymously
‘VPN allows users to browse the internet anonymously, which means teens are able to do whatever they want online without any roadblocks,’ says Jordan. ‘I have found that teens often want to access videos and content that may have been blocked in their country. VPN allows them to do this, however it also means they can communicate anonymously, which can involve illegal activities such as purchasing drugs.’
3. To steal online content
‘The most common reason teens use this technology is for pirating movies and TV shows,’ Jordan explains. ‘Many users like to access content, such as US Netflix, that is only available within the USA, so they use a VPN based in the USA to make it seem like that is their location, which is totally illegal.’
Family Zone identifies and removes VPN apps and blocks websites from protected devices. Parents can also choose to create a Consequence if one of their children attempts to use a VPN to bypass their parental controls - this prohibits the device from doing anything but make phone calls or send texts for up to an hour at a time.
We also work with schools to prevent their web filtering being bypassed by students so that your family are protected on every device they use, at all times.
Our team of Cyber Experts, including Jordan, work tirelessly to identify new online risks and trends to help schools gain control over cyber safety.