There’s an underbelly in this world. A dark, sick, illegal world where people can put a price tag on anything — drugs, sex, even lives. Access is simply a keystroke away.
The Dark Web is accessible to anyone — anyone — and your kids could be accessing it without you ever knowing.
I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but this world is one I’ve seen first-hand through my experience with the FBI, and it is a terrifying place for anyone to be, let alone a child.
How dangerous is the Dark Web?
Let’s start with this. Imagine an iceberg. The tip of that iceberg that’s visible to the naked eye, is the internet we know (which still isn’t without its own dangers, but that’s another story). All of that ice below the surface? That’s the Dark Web.
It operates just like the web we know. It’s got a search engine, but the Dark Web’s search engine takes you down a very deep rabbit hole.
For example, if I type “cocaine” into the search engine on the Dark Web, it populates with drug dealers. They tout their arrest-free record, the purity of their product, their 100 percent satisfaction rating. With hundreds of distributors to choose from, cocaine can be delivered directly to your home.
Here’s the kicker with the Dark Web. Because every 10 seconds or so the sites switch servers, law enforcement can track who goes in, but that’s as far as it goes. After someone jumps into this world, they’re enveloped and cloaked.
How you access the Dark Web
I normally don’t share this information for fear of spreading the ‘how’, but as a parent you need to know what to look for to determine if your child has visited the Dark Web. To get into this world, the TOR browser is downloaded and then you’re in. From there, you need to become a verified buyer.
Inside the Dark Web, you can buy drugs, human organs, guns, hire hit men … all bad stuff that absolutely no child needs to have access to.
Often times, kids get unsolicited messages on Kik or Whatsapp that literally drops them at the front door of the Dark Web. They’re given the link and then the rest just happens; we all know how inquisitive kids are and if they don’t know what they’re being given access to, of course they will explore.
Has my child accessed the Dark Web?
The telltale way to know if your child has entered the Dark Web is to simply check and see if the TOR browser is installed on their device.
But, there are sneakier ways, too.
If you have a monitoring app and notice your child’s activity online is traceable and then disappears and then returns, they could be accessing the Dark Web.
What can you do to make sure your child isn’t exploring the Dark Web
It all boils down to monitoring your child’s online activity. If you haven’t downloaded a monitoring app yet, do so.
Also, have a conversation with your child about going online and how to be a digital citizen.
If you’re concerned about your child’s activity online and want to learn more about how to protect them, we’re here to help.