Educating your children on internet safety

Educating your children on internet safety

As a parent, one of the most important and often difficult jobs that you have involves keeping your children safe and secure at all times, whether they are home, out and about, or online. This is difficult enough when they leave the house each day, and but can be exponentially harder when they have access to the Internet as well, especially with Wi-Fi connections and many devices which can access the internet nowadays.

From the moment your children start using the computer, it should be a high priority to teach them about computers and online safety, especially when using the internet. Here are a few tips to get started.

Establishing Rules

One of the most important steps that you can take with your children to educate them on computer safety involves laying down rules that they shall stick to at all times. Teach your children about how important it is to never give out personal identifying information like addresses, telephone numbers, and birth dates without your permission.

Also, teach them about the importance of coming to you immediately if something on the computer makes them uncomfortable or they don’t understand.  In these cases you can take the opportunity to sit down and then have a real conversation about the content that they find objectionable. You can also take this opportunity to identify other potential threats and plan how you will deal with them.

Warn your children not to ever arrange to meet someone in person who they’ve been communicating with online, and not to provide photos at the other person’s request.

Educating your children about Threats

When talking about computer safety, it’s important to grasp the idea that it isn’t always just people with malicious intentions that you need to be concerned with. If your children are going to be spending time using the computer online, also take the opportunity to teach them about viruses, and other types of malware that may compromise or damage your personal computer or files. Teach your children about the most common ways that computer viruses are transmitted, for example, this usually involves e-mail attachments from unknown senders. Additionally teach your children about the dangers of peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as torrents and their related search web sites, and how they are also one of the most common ways that computer viruses spread online between computers.

Take some time to teach your children about the importance of protecting yourself and your family members against these types of malicious programs through the use of antivirus and antimalware software. Doing so at an early age will help children avoid the types of mistakes that could result in a virus being accidentally downloaded to your home computer, smartphone or tablet.

Whilst your children are using a device that is connected to the Internet, it’s important that they understand just how important these safe practices really are.

Social Networking

As social networking becomes more and more popular, it is also important to keep a watchful eye over the ways in which your children are interacting on sites like Facebook and Twitter. According to the identity theft protection service LifeLock, even seemingly innocuous information posted on social networking web sites can often be used to guess answers to security questions, gain access to account passwords, and steal a person’s identity.  Often, email accounts can be “hacked” using this information.

Let your children know that it is okay to share certain innocent types of information on social networking sites, but remain judicious regarding the personal information you prohibit.

If you need assistance in setting up anti-virus software, parental control software, or need help setting up a new computer for children to use, please contact us at Caversham Computers.