Doxxing, also spelt doxing, is publicly exposing someone's personal details on the internet without their consent. It’s a scary tactic that can put your child in danger. However, there are methods you can adopt to ensure they are protected online.
The school summer term has started, meaning that the summer holidays are just around the corner, and while we’d like to think that our children will be enjoying their time off outdoors, preferably in the sunshine this summer, there will be those days when they spend much of their time on their phones, tablets and devices.
And if you’re a parent who’s working from home while your child is with you, or you have shipped the kids out to relatives while you work, knowing what kids get up to online is almost impossible.
You’ll be aware of a lot of the main threats - scams, access to pornography or harmful websites, messaging apps etc - but have you heard of doxxing?
What is doxxing?
In a nutshell, doxxing is when someone on the internet (the doxxer) posts personal information about someone else (the victim) for the world to see without the consent. This information is sensitive, meaning it can be used to figure out who someone really is, where they live and how to contact them.
The information can be the victim’s real name, home address, phone number, email address, photos or other personal information.
How to prevent doxxing
One of the best things you can do to make sure that your child isn’t doxxed is to talk to them about it. These conversations help them know not to tell anyone their real name, share pictures of themselves online or tell anyone about which school they go to or what year they’re in.
Basically, parents should instruct their children to use the internet stealthily, giving away nothing to no one.
Ways you can protect your child from doxxing
Make sure your child uses a strong password and has a different one for every social media or gaming account.
Help your child come up with a fake name to use on the internet and in an email address.
Make sure that no personal information is available on your child’s social media or gaming accounts, such as their hometown.
Social media apps, such as Snapchat, use location services to find out where your child is connecting from. Make sure to turn off location services in the device’s settings to prevent a doxxer from knowing where your child is currently located.
Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which can prevent doxxers from finding out where your child is connecting to the internet from.
What to do if someone doxxes your child
If the worst happens and someone tells the internet about your child’s true name, address, or more, there are things you can do about it.
Take a screenshot or otherwise record the doxxing post.
Contact the website or app’s customer service agents to see if the post can be taken down.
Delete your child’s social media and gaming accounts to protect them from cyberbullying.
If you think your child is in immediate danger, call the police to find out if they can help.
What to do if your child doxxes someone else
Sometimes children don’t understand the consequences of their actions, and they may not understand that putting their friend or other person’s personal information online can put them in danger.
Talk to your child about the dangers of doxxing, not only for their own safety but for the safety of their friends.
If you find out your child has doxxed someone, go onto their online account and take the post down immediately to protect the safety of whoever it is they doxxed.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).