Protecting Your Child against the Dangers of File Sharing

Learn about the dangers of file sharing and how to protect your teen from the potential dangers of file sharing.

Peer-to-peer file sharing has come a long way since the advent of file sharing websites. Before, these only existed to give people a chance to download their favorite MP3s. These days, so many websites give out these MP3 songs and games, movies, TV shows, books, and any software you can imagine. Who can easily exchange these files across the network without limits and without the need to pay?

As one of the adults in the family, you must know about copyright infringement and the dangers that go along with it. It is when you use or acquire the works of other people or company without their permission.

When you download these files from peer-to-peer networks, you are eliminating the copyright holder’s rights. In other words, you support piracy, and you will eventually be accused of copyright infringement.

This is something that your child may not be able to understand. Even adults disregard the potential harm caused when they do not abide by this law. Being a good parent, though, means that you are dedicated to protecting your child against the use of illegal file sharing networks.

The Technology behind P2P


P2P today is synonymous to free media over the Internet. This is where people get to watch the TV shows that they might have missed, and they can also download video games here. All of these can be achieved for free. Most teenagers today are well-versed in technology, and it does not help that the Internet makes it easy for them.

For instance, if they want to search for a file, they only need to use a search engine, and the results would lead them to websites where they can download that file. Some P2P networks require the users to log in or become members first. However, some websites allow people to download the file they want right away.

The idea behind P2P is not bad, but it is how people exploit it. Technically, peer-to-peer file sharing involves many individuals with media in their hard drives. If your son or daughter initiates a download, he or she will receive different bits of the file. This speeds up the process because it does not require the user to download the whole file.

Why You Should Warn Your Child about File Sharing

While file sharing does have its advantages, there are also risks in getting involved in P2P. Here are two of those threats along with their proposed solutions:

  • It is illegal. The most important reason these file share websites are not treated like standard websites is that they provide illegal media. Users may be subject to fines when they choose to download files here. Many authorities are now pursuing these users to stop what they are doing. They do so by detecting the users’ activities and finally imposing financial penalties on them. Perhaps your son or daughter does not really want to download these files. However, several young people are simply following their friends’ advice about P2P file sharing. One of the ways parents can help their children deal with this is to talk to them and explain the dangers of illegal media acquired online.
  • It is risky. When you join a P2P website, you will allow other users to access your files. This is, of course, dangerous because it can lead to numerous problems, including viruses and even identity theft. The solution here is not to use P2P networks to share files. However, if necessary, such as sharing huge yet legal files over the web, you can help your teen by discussing the limitations on personal information your child can provide online. This will help address the identity theft problem. On the other hand, using anti-virus software applications can help i9n deter malicious elements.

The Truth that Parents Need to Know

There are several ways to protect your children against file sharing dangers. With proper guidance, it is possible to combat these threats. However, the reality is that even kids that are not too tech-savvy will always find a way into these P2P websites. It is straightforward now, especially with how the Internet and technology have been developed. You can put all kinds of parental controls in the computer, and your child will eventually discover a way around these restrictions.

Additionally, torrenting websites are used even by adults today. Most of them are polished and even put up a warning for people that piracy is a crime. Therefore, some adults trust these websites and innocently become a part of piracy. There is a large gray area in free media, making it even more challenging to discuss peer-to-peer technology.

The truth is that software and even these torrent or P2P websites are not unlawful per se. Some can be considered legitimate because they offer free media or freeware, or shareware.

The best thing you can do to help your child ensure they remain insufficient protection against the possible dangers of online file sharing is to talk to them. It is significant that at the end of the discussion, they have a clear understanding of what these sites are and what will happen if the privileges are abused. Approaching free files over the Internet should always be done with caution.

If you think that your child is involved in torrent or P2P file-sharing activities, you can search the computer for these torrent files. They end with .torr or .torrent extensions. Also, you will find that there is a torrent software application installed.

You can either uninstall it or discuss the situation with your child. Stress on the threats these sites may lead to and the activities they encourage. It always helps if you revisit this topic every once in a while whenever you have the chance.

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