Episode 126 Scott Mills Talking Internet Safety in 2020 and …
Rob Cairns with the SDM show. In this episode, I sit down with friends to show my good friend Mr. Scott Mills. And Scott is considered an online expert at teaching kids to be safe online. So we thought we’d look back at 2020. And moving forward to 2021, especially during the pandemic, and everything else going on, and talk about how to keep kids and adults safe on the internet, grab your favorite drink, sit down, relax, and enjoy the chat, Scott. Hey, I’m Rob character. I’m here with my good friend, Scott nails. And we thought we’d do something a little different. Today, we talk a little bit about some social media safety concerns in 2020, and things you can do in 2021, to make yourself a little more safe on social media. How are you today, Scott?
Good. Thanks, Rob. Thanks for inviting me onto your show. Yeah, this
is like your second appearance. So you’re getting out there. So I think I think and I know, you and I, over the years, we’ve beat this drum, and we got to keep beating it. So in 2020, what were the biggest problems on social media, from your perspective, from a safety perspective and things people weren’t doing?
I don’t know if this is safety or not, but a fake news is, is the biggest enemy out there. So you see something. on social media, it’s not true for one reason or another, it looks legitimate, and then you don’t know what to think. So I think the biggest safety issue is, and the best thing that you can do, to protect yourself is to follow and engage with legitimate trusted sources of information. And anyone else, you just don’t follow them. And don’t even let them on your feed. Because it can affect your it can affect your mood, it can affect your health, how you look at the world. And that’s that’s the biggest concern, as far as I’m concerned is, is misinformation and disinformation, commonly known together as fake news.
Yeah, I would agree with that. I mean, any any even legitimate people are spreading fake news. And we’ll start with my favorite guy with the orange hair in the big white building we get rid of in 18 days or something. And, you know, for those who don’t know, that’s how I refer to Donald Trump, the president united states, I just, I have no, he spreads more fake news and most people, and he actually accuses trusted sources like CNN, The Washington Post, the new york times three, the name of spreading fake news for him. Right. So
yeah, definitely. The trust in an established institutions has taken, taken a serious hit over over the past four or five years and not sure how to bring that back. But I think we have to keep the faith. And it all comes down to integrity reputation. Yeah. And that’s, that’s, that’s if the people that you’re following on social media don’t have integrity, and don’t have a good reputation then unfollow them.
I really good. I mean, I
think, I think though, I think the best place for news still, to this day on social media is Twitter. I mean, no matter how much you love or hate Twitter, I think it’s an easy source. I think the best way to do it is to follow some trusted sources and throw them in their Twitter list. And then just go through and comb the list. I think one of the problems, you know, and is since we’re talking about it’s we’re talking about is like a pandemic, people screentime have gone up and not down. I find personally since September, since I kind of recognized what I was dealing with and my marriage issues. I’ve actually dropped my screen time on social media dramatically like, and people are sending me Where have you been? And I said, You know, I just, I’m not going to spend eight hours a day on Facebook or on Twitter because I’m at home. I’ve got other things to do. So I think that’s the other problem is the screen time. As the screen time has gone up, mental health issues have also gone up with it. Any comments on that? Oh, for sure.
I first off, I agree 100%, that news breaks on Twitter. And if you have a very good list of people on Twitter, you can keep yourself pretty current pretty easily. And just there are some really decent lists that I follow of trusted media sources, meaning meaning agencies and organizations, and key reporters that are trustworthy. And it’s on the Toronto Police operations TPS operations Twitter account, it’s called, it’s called Toronto media. And that’s a, that’s a really good list to follow. A lot of people do follow it. But I essentially say that you can sit there and look at that list, you can actually bring the list straight across the top of your Twitter feed. Now, if anybody wants to know how to do that, let me know because it really makes your life easier. And there are some really solid lists built out there, where you can get key relevant information from official sources very, very quickly, and, and not get caught up in the misinformation and disinformation slash fake news. And on your point about the mental health piece, most therapists that I’ve seen or heard out there are saying to minimize your screen time, not completely disengaged from it, but but definitely get away from the computer, get away from your phone, go out and enjoy nature and go out and take a walk. Just keep yourself balanced and grounded. Because screen time is way up for work due to working remotely and things like that. So I really do think that that is a good idea. But I also think that it’s important to, to keep up to date with what is going on in the world, you can’t completely shut yourself out, because that creates problems as well. But as we stated up right off the top, very important to follow trusted sources, and anybody that’s not a trusted source, take them off, because it’s just going to cause you stress. And you want to maximize that time that your screen time is by quality content that’s coming through from trusted sources.
Yeah, place it place the time on what’s important. And, and and do that. social media accounts, they get hacked every day. Isn’t that time really to stress to people that they must install two step authentication on a social media account. And
that’s pretty interesting. I’ve had two step, login authentication installed numerous times when you’re switching over accounts, or you’re switching over devices, and that first, for somebody that uses a lot of social media like me, it can get quite tiresome with the two step login authentication. So you need to be because you can lose access pretty quickly. Say, for instance, you got a new phone and you don’t have access to the old phone, you don’t have access to the old number or whatever. So maybe that’s something you can give Rob is some advice on on how to actually do that properly, especially with the authenticators system, as opposed to text message because I think it’s really important that people do that. But they need to do it not using text message.
I actually use hockey personally. And I know the phone issue. So I’ll tell a personal story. My mom got a new iPhone. And my mom is a real estate agent. And she had to transfer her Authentication Service because the trial real estate board uses to stamp and they have their own proprietary system that generates codes. And I actually had to pick up the phone and call the Toronto real estate board and say how do I move this from her old phone or new phone? So that is a concern. I prefer Google often because text message authentication is not not a good not Google i think but so often because text message is not a good idea. You could spoof a SIM card. It’s easy To call up a telco and get some sympathetic person who will send you a SIM card. Even with all the measures, I mean, Rogers now has voice ID, they now have verification, they now have pin numbers. And people still get past some because some rep electro guard up. And the problem with SMS is it’s really the human element at telcos. So it is a good source, it’s free. The big thing with authy is it will let you download can backup codes. And what I always tell people is download the backup codes and put them some, because the minute you change phones, you’re going to need them. The other way I like to go for two step is what’s called an Uber key. So that’s basically a USB key that you can set up for that generates codes, that’s pretty authorized. And that’s the other way that works really well. Yes, it’s a pain, especially when you’re, you’re like me, and you’re on a work laptop, a personal laptop, and a phone and two tablets. And but the problem becomes is if you don’t do it, where are you in the long run? And how important is your privacy and your information to you? So I honestly think, you know, I turn it on. I would, while we’re having that discussion, I would strongly suggest anybody get a password manager, turn your password manager on LastPass is free. If you have Norton 365, they have a password manager included in the subscription, do something. And I’ve gone to the point where I can’t even tell you except for my email, what my passwords are without looking them up, because I use scrambled random passwords. And that makes it difficult.
Yeah, I think that’s all, it’s all great advice. Rob. Another key point i think is with our children, many of them doing school from home. I think it’s extremely important that you’re not sharing a device with your child, simply because your device, it’s like your personal notebook. You know, it’s like you’re, it’s not really like a diary. But it’s, it’s it’s your working tool, right. It’s your tools of the trade. It’s like if you’re a carpenter, you have your toolbox. So your, your computer and your phone really is your toolbox. And you get to know how that works for you. And if you’re, if your child is constantly borrowing that, a it’s annoying, right your device, but be they they’re trying to establish their own toolbox, and they can’t do it effectively on your device. So it is a really good investment to invest in a device that is your child’s and and then mentor them, you know, this works for me this work, hey, and you’ll you’ll be surprised that a lot of times your children are teaching you things that you didn’t know not only about security, but about, you know, different things that are out there and things that can benefit you as well. So this kind of age old idea that, you know, technology is bad computers are bad phones are bad, don’t get your phone, don’t get your kid a phone. You know, make sure that you install parental controls and all that type of stuff. I’ve never really been a fan of all that. Normally. I’ve been a fan of mentoring your children, and having a dialogue about their technology use. But now more than ever, since the pandemic, I think it’s imperative that if your child doesn’t have their own device, and that could be multiple devices. You know, they probably need a phone and a laptop at this point even even if they’re eight years old and in elementary school,
or a Chromebook even more so like give for an eight year old. I think honestly a Chromebook is a really good choice. I know. My friend Leslie and her classes have Chromebooks and they work really well. I know they had eight or nine they probably don’t need a full laptop. But
yeah, but it’s the you know, like, give you an example my eight year old he was obviously during the first lockdown was was doing the learning from home. And it wasn’t synchronous learning it was basically assignments. And so he could kind of go and grab his grab whatever device, but you had to login to his account. Yep. So he really needed kind of his own device to do that. And now come in the first, you know, going back to school every day, to be honest, what they call synchronous learning, which means that your teacher and your classmates are there all the time. So if you’re, if you’re working from home, which many people are, you’re not gonna have time to loan your device to your child now, like they’re gonna need their own device. And, you know, I know that school boards have been really, really trying to make sure that no, no child is left behind, and that everybody has a device that needs one. But if you’re the adult out there, that’s thinking that, you know, what, why would my eight year old need a device, it’s time to move forward with that thinking? and change that thinking to know what device is going to suit my child’s needs? And how can I learn together with my child to use this device, because moving forward in the world, if your child doesn’t know how to work their own device, both for for their their studies, and personally, and their recreation and enjoyment and gaming and stuff like that, they’re going to be left out? And you know, the other kids are gonna say, Well, how come you don’t know this? It’s like, Oh, well, my bed, my parents will let me have that. And, yeah, it’s, it really is a requirement in this day and age. In Canada, and in the States, North America anyway. And I would hazard a guess to say worldwide, probably not everywhere in the world. But having your own device as a child is important.
No, I would agree with you. I would agree that we cannot, you know, the old days to taking the device and throwing it in the central place in the house doesn’t work anymore. We all know that. And that, and that’s a big problem. And I think the best way to build trust, and I’m like you, I’m not a fan of installing monitoring software, I never did it. With wine. I’m not a big fan of telling kids what they should and shouldn’t do. I’m a big fan of having an open mind. And then when your kids come to me and say, I have a problem, because the odds are the kids are playing in places that you wouldn’t think of. So for example, discord, the forum price, there’s more bullying with kids that goes on in discord than I can count. online games. So places like world Warcraft, any of these even Nintendo games, in many you invoke chat, you invoke the possibilities of kids being abused a little bit, right?
have to be
Chad is okay. Um, the kids just need to, to be comfortable with who they’re talking with. And Mom and Dad, you know, if they’re really young kids need to know who they’re talking with. So, you know, what a lot of parents are doing now is they’re buying their, their children, whatever age they are, they’re buying them a SIM card, and they’re interchangeable. So they may you know, that number would could have been assigned to somebody else. And next thing, you know, they install the SIM card with a new number in their device, because they’ve been used to working off of Wi Fi and now they’ve got a they’ve got a SIM card so they’re, they’re really excited about it. Next thing you know, they’re getting all these calls that are directed for somebody that that sin number before and they’re reaching out on all types of messaging apps and things like that and some of the content pretty inappropriate. So you know, I dealt with this firsthand with a with a 12 year old female over the holidays and you know, her mom gave her a SIM card for Christmas and it was pretty exciting and next thing you know, all this, these weird messages started coming so I don’t think you need to take the SIM card out and and run it back to the store and switch it or anything like that. What I think you do need to do is be diligent about blocking numbers that are trying to contact your child and appropriately and after a couple of weeks they’ll get the message that that number is not belonging to that particular person again and things will be okay but but these are things that you need to look out for when you pick up a SIM card these days. And a
lot of stuff too is is common sense and And I’ve talked about with kids over the years one, don’t take the pictures you shouldn’t take even if you think it’s okay. And we all know which ones we’re talking about. So please don’t do it. I’ve seen more battles with kids and adults over pictures that I don’t even want to talk about. Number two, be careful. Think about some of these new networks, like Tick tock, tick tock has its own problems. And now there’s a new network called clubhouse. I don’t know if you’ve seen it running around. It’s a chat app. And I just see where this is going. Like kids from a security nightmare. It’s, it’s awful, right? So you just got to teach the kids and say, if they get no conversate conversation starts they shouldn’t be in. The one thing kids need to learn is how they those black keys really quickly.
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. But I also, you can’t shy away from some of this stuff. Like, you know, a lot. There’s always something out there about the newest and latest greatest platform, right? So, you know, there’s the whole Tick tock, they’re spying on your phone and, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The, the huge reality of tik tok is that, yes, it’s got a lot of content, it’s got a lot of users, it’s got a definitely a young demographic. The content is funny, you can spend hours just sitting there rolling. But to be honest, um, some of the content on there, you can learn how to do some, some things, you know, like, the kids in my life, have actually found some really neat things on Tick Tock in relation to artwork. And they ended up making a whole bunch of pieces of art, based on the lessons they were learning on how to do this particular art. And it was all from Tick Tock. So there’s, there’s benefits and risks to everything. But I really think it’s important that rule of thumb is, wherever your children want to go on the internet, go with them. Just be a parent out there. And learn how it works. That’s what I’ve been doing for years. You know, I remember when I first started talking in schools, I’ve done 1000s of school talks to kids about social media and success for success and safety. And Facebook was all the big grades at one time. And, you know, God forbid that somebody had a Facebook account. You know, I remember all these teachers, they didn’t have any Facebook or anything like that these kids were all over it. And it was a free for all out there. And and I was able to show a lot of the kids you know, here’s what you’re saying. And everywhere. Everybody out there can see it. Would you like your teacher to see that? And so it’s all about mentoring?
Oh, no, no question. And we talked about Facebook, and I’ll share with you a very funny story. I was in a school a couple years ago with one of my friends said, Would you come in and talk to my kids? And I said gladly. And I spent and I normally before I do a talk, I either throw my browser in incognito mode, or I clear my cache. Today, that day, I chose not to big mistake. So I log into Facebook, and what do I have in the right hand side. But ads for additional Canada. For those who don’t know additional is a is a plus i use coating chain. It’s no longer in business. But they had ads and when they the kids said to me your mail What’s with all the ads. So I had to go through the whole concept of how ad retargeting is done. So the kids understood that if you went on your website, that’s how they target ads, right based on your cookies and based on what you’re doing. But But yeah, it the kid, the more they understand the more they get it. And we seem to there seems to be this big faction out there when people say to kids Oh, just don’t do that. Well, the minute you tell kids not to do that. That’s like a recipe for disaster because then they’re gonna go do it anyway. Right. So yeah, yeah. So I mean, that’s that’s a big problem on that one. And and like the network’s honestly, Scott, the network’s change. But the mechanics don’t right. Really. I mean, bullying has gone on the internet. As far as I can remember, even before it was the internet, we’re dealing with message boards. I mean, it’s, it’s always happened, right. So, yeah, you know, and I think for adults, one of the biggest spot of deceit and both Honestly, right now, which dating sites, especially with the pandemic going on?
only been on a dating site myself once. And it can be a cesspool out there. And you can spend a lot of time on it, and it can really affect your psyche. And so, you know, at one point, I probably would have said, dating sites are bad. But, you know, I’ve known so many people in my life that I’ve met partners on their on their dating on dating sites, and they’re quite happy and content in their lives. So it’s like anything else, right? You have to use it in a way that’s, that’s healthy for you, and safe for you. And it’s just a matter of getting to learn the platform that you’re on.
Yeah. And be smart, don’t give out personal information. I was having this discussion with an adult female friend the other day, who’s jumped back into the dating pool. And she said, What’s the first thing I should do? And I said, honestly, go to one of these phone services and set up a free phone number that’s disposable, and do it now. Like, don’t give out your standard cell right away. Don’t give out finances don’t get conned into money. You know? I mean, there’s a lot of fraud out there.
If it sounds too good to be true. It is. Yeah. And, you know, if you’re banking, online banking is another thing. Most people are using online banking, and for the most part, it’s pretty safe. But if something if you if you smell something that’s not right there, you see something that’s, this doesn’t look right, it’s probably not right. And you need to report it to the reputable authorities. You know, like the bank, right away. I haven’t personally experienced a lot of things like that. But I know you have Rob
Oh, I just went through it. I had somebody from China who did a 20 $500 deposit to my account, and then tried to take 2500 out the back end to an eight transfer to an account that was held at the TD and interact, stop, stop to transfer. And the problem even with dealing with the banks, and being safe online is depending on who you get on the phone, because we’re in the middle COVID. So you wait for two hours to make your call. And then they treat you like you’re dumb, and you’re stupid. And that’s the fault of the banks, the companies that make million dollars every day in this country, and they don’t know how to service our customers or take them seriously. So when I dealt with my mess, and believe me, I’m still dealing with the fallout a little bit of it. I had to spend over and get this over 20 hours on the phone over four days, plus eight hours in the branch to deal with my mess, just the banking side. Then I had to deal with Canada Revenue side of it because I was still receiving payments from CRA and I took more time. And the only place that I can come to conclusion that my bank account was beyond and my wife said was in CRA sense because CRA those who don’t know, the Canada Revenue Agency was hacked multiple times in the last couple of years. And the last hack was attributed back to China and Russia. So the only thing you can really do with online banking is remember your deposits are insured. Don’t share your PIN numbers use complex passwords. And, and more. So be very careful where you use that debit card. I mean, that’s the other key thing. And and and watch your statements. I mean I It is so easy to log into your online banking and say, give me an Excel file of all my transactional has 30 days to audit your statements. Look at your accounts. I would tell people truthfully doing online banking on your cell phone is as safe as doing it on a PC because your cell phone does point to point. So those people who don’t think it is what I would also tell people is do not do your online banking in a coffee shop in a hotel in a free public Wi Fi that’s asking for trouble person. No, but that and and the banks in Canada seem to be very anti two step authentication which concerns me It should be an option person And then I’ll take that one more step, that I would suggest that anybody who’s doing any internet buying for stuff goes one of two ways. Either get a credit card with a low balance just for online shopping, or go to a prepaid credit card, which is your approach I’ve gone, where you transfer the funds on to when you need to make that payment. And that way, if something happens, you minimize your losses,
if not totally. Does that kind of makes sense on that one? So,
so going into 2021? What are the three key things you would tell people to be safe in the online world, either kids or adults?
Number one is only follow. And people that are trustworthy, official sources, be careful of opinions there. Because everybody seems to have an opinion. Regardless of what many people’s opinions are, the reality is, whatever leaders are implementing for us. So you can talk about things all day long. But the bottom line is, what are the rules for you to put one foot in front of the other, especially with this COVID issue. And so take that from the official source, whether you like it or not just follow the rules. So basically, official sources, number two, I would definitely, in order to minimize the time that you’re on your devices and maximum the content coming your way, I would definitely set up lists on Twitter, I think they are very important for incoming news. So if you don’t have a Twitter account, sign up and get one, don’t, don’t just sign up and look like spam, don’t take the the the name that they give you that looks like spam, put a profile picture on it, put a bio on it, be somebody because nobody’s gonna want to follow somebody that looks like spam, and engage out there. If you’re on any other platforms, just follow the same rules about legitimate sources and trusted people that that you’re following. And and when you, when you get followed by somebody, you know, oh, this person from India is following me. They may be interested in the same topics that you’re interested in, and they have a lot of value to offer you. Or it may be some type of a scam. So you need to really invest in some critical eyes out there. And if you can get on an online course about what to do on your social media, and what not to do on your social media, what to look for, how to basically judge authenticity, that would be an hour or two of your life well spent. And thirdly, I think it’s, we’ve discussed this, I think it’s imperative that if you have young children, that you spend some time engaging with them on their own devices, and teaching them what you know about using the internet and social media. And in turn, listen to them about what they know, and, and foster a good relationship of trust and understanding between your child and yourself about the online world. And I think if you do those three things, everything else will fall in line. And I think your life will, your life involving technology will become seamless in a couple of months if you’re doing those three steps.
And the one thing I will add is if you really want to protect yourself online and what’s being said, learn how to use Google Alerts and set up some Google alerts on your name, your company’s name, keep people if you own your own business in your business, keep people around you, then you Google will kind of notify you when things are being said I’ve actually picked up things that way. So that’s a good way to protect yourself too. And just be aware of what’s going on. I mean, there’s a lot going on right now. But I’ll tell you from experience having spent a lot of time in a computer security and there’s more hackers and more spammers and more phishing schemes and more virus problems right now. with everybody at home, the other big takeaway I’ve got is, if you’re forced to work at home, on a home computer to do business, call your office and tell them to set you up with a virtual machine. And that way, which is basically a machine running in software on top of your main machine, and that was something that happens with your business, you’re not up a creek if you’re infected or something. So try and keep working home isolated. And I think a lot of people aren’t doing that. And I just know, from talking it people that I know and having been in that business, it’s a nightmare right now. So just kind of think about things like that, it things are really tough right now. And I really believe that a lot of companies are going to keep people at home, even after this pandemic, we’ve done a shift. And we need to find ways to support those people. And fortunately, the company I work for supports the staff at home really well. But some companies aren’t doing as good a job. And that’s a bit of a problem. Do you have anything you want to add? Scott Are you
know, I think, see, Happy New Year to everybody. And we’ve got a bit of a fresh start here. So positive attitude is goes a long way, regardless of the challenges that are that we’re facing. So hopefully, people can stay positive and, and be helpful to each other and kind of each other and keep our stress to a minimum. And it’s, it’s always good to talk with you, Rob. And it’s always, it’s always nice to be able to reach out to somebody like yourself that that is quite knowledgeable in the the it and security world. Because things come my way, even though I’m working full time with this kind of a law enforcement capacity, things come my way that I’m like, Is that real? So that, you know, I need an opinion on right. And having a guy like you that you can just reach out to quickly and say, What do you think of this? It’s great, it’s a, it’s a valuable, you’re a valuable resource to have for me and for others that are out there. And I know others reach out to you for assistance as well. Thank you for your assistance and my personal operating in that 2021.
Now, it’s it’s funny. I’ve got a a network of people, friends, colleagues, and they’ll reach out to me and as I say, I’d rather people reach out than not, there’s enough scams going on. I mean, you and I were talking about a domain name registration scam the other day on the phone and, and people don’t know. And I’d rather people come to me and say, Is this real? Does this make sense? and nine out of 10 times, they don’t make sense. And, you know, he just got to kind of help my model is just kind of help people. And and you know, there’s people out there that say, oh, who cares? Well, you don’t want then they’re there on their own. And that’s a bit of a problem. So appreciate the kind words and Happy New Year. And Scott, if somebody needs to ask you a question, Twitter’s probably the best way right for you.
If you can, you know you can always call me on myself 647449 to 801 my cells not a not a secret out there. Got text me or Scott email@example.com with one T and Scott, my real name has two T’s but my Gmail has one T and there’s a guy in Arizona named Scott Mills that hates my guts. Yeah, so he gets a lot of emails for me that are misdirected. So, uh, Scott Mills as CEO at EMI firstname.lastname@example.org happy to happy to chat with anybody that’s listening to your podcasts and they need anything and if I can be of assistance, so be happy to help.
And hey, guys, like if you need help, you can reach out to the sky, you can reach out to me, we’ll help you. It’s a tough process. And and I think it’s as we both said, it’s COVID is kind of complicated this process. So just keep yourself safe. Have a Happy New Year. And Scott, thanks for joining me and have a great day. Bye bye for now.
Thanks, Rob. Take care,
everybody. Rob Cairns again, a special thanks to Scott Mills for joining me on today’s episode. It’s always a pleasure to sit down Converse. collaborate with Scott he sure knows what he’s doing. This podcast dedicated to my late father Bruce Cairns and my wife, Jill Mclean-Cairns love you both very much. If you want to reach me VIP at stunning digital marketing.com or my website stunning digital marketing comm on twitter at Rob Cairns keep your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars and make that business succeed. Bye for now.