Do you have kids and computers in your home? You’re probably wanting to do everything you can to protect them from, well, anything or anyone who may harm them.
Here are a few tips for keeping your children (and computer) safe while using the Internet, and we hope you’ll share what you’re already doing in the comment section—we can never know too many ways to keep kids safe.
Talking to your kids.
Tell them to never give personal information online (birth date, address, phone number, vacation times, etc). A stranger could take that information and steal their identity, or visit your home, or find your child.
Explain that anyone can pretend to be anyone else online. Even when we think we’re talking to a friend, it could be an adult pretending to be our friend, or just someone who’s hanging around our friend’s house.
Tell them they must never agree to meet someone in person. We never know for sure who we’re talking to online, and they could be agreeing to meet someone who would harm them.
Tell them to always check with you before downloading anything, and it’s a good idea for you to go online with them and download something so they can see what you mean. Explain what malware is and what it can do to the computer. If you’re uneasy about allowing them full access, you can set them up with their own account on the family computer, and make it a limited one that won’t allow them to add software or make other changes to the computer.
Share with them what type of sites you feel are appropriate and inappropriate. Have that conversation. If the kids know your boundaries, chances are they’ll share them.
Proactively protecting your kids.
Most operating systems have parental controls. Google the phrase and you’ll be directed to the correct site. Install those controls and you can block certain sites and content as well as predetermine how much computer time your child may have. Many will also allow you to see where you child has gone online. You can do the same by viewing a browser’s history.
We trust our kids, but we want to make sure they’re not being led astray.
Something to keep in mind—parental controls will protect your child to a certain degree when he or she is using your computer. They will not protect your child when he or she is using other computers. It may be more practical to take the time to teach and monitor rather than block usage.
We like this site for online safety tips: http://onguardonline.gov/ What are your safety tips?
By Danny Tehrani