Internet Safety

Follow these 10 tips to keep your children safe on the internet.

  1. First educate yourself, then your child.

    Banning a child from certain sites may only motivate them to spend more time on them, whereas educating your child on how to keep safe will give them the tools they need to navigate their online world without being hurt; from not posting personal information to a site to understanding that people they are talking to may not actually be who they are. If the parents know the dangers themselves, this sets an example to the child to understand them as well.

  2. Teach children the obvious identity rules.

    Tell your children NOT to put photos of themselves on the Internet or to give out their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, or other personal information online.

  3. Install an Internet filter or family safety software.

    Family safety software is becoming extremely advanced and an effective way to filter dangerous content. Additionally, this software usually comes with tools like time management, remote monitoring and reporting, and keystroke recognition, giving families greater peace of mind and manageability.

  4. Know the dangers associated with sites your children frequent.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether it's MySpace, Facebook or another social networking site, by knowing what people are doing on your children's favorite sites that could put them in harm's way, parents can educate their children and show them the warning signs of potentially dangerous situations.

  5. Teach children what to do if they encounter pornography on a home or public computer, such as at a school or a library.

    In a similar fashion to the fire warning of "stop, drop and roll," you can teach children to quickly turn off power to the computer monitor and go to get an adult. This can prevent a child from attempting to stop the situation by clicking more buttons (and thereby spreading the attack and being exposed to more porn).

  6. Manage your children's time on the Internet.

    Scheduling times when a child can be on the Internet and the amount they can be online ensures that you know when they are on the Internet and how long. By not allowing them to have free reign reduces their chances of being exposed to inappropriate content.

  7. Set specific Internet guidelines for your children to live by and consistently enforce consequences, if they are not being followed.

    Giving your children specific guidelines to follow will ensure they know where they stand when it comes to how they use the Internet as well as the consequences when they breach the rules. If a parent enforces consequences consistently, their children will be more likely to follow the rules.

  8. Keep computers out of children's bedrooms and in open areas.

    With PCs in the open, children will be less inclined to view and access material that may not be acceptable.

  9. Create a relationship with your children that is conducive to open communication.

    Open communication and trust is extremely valuable. By letting children know what is expected from them and that their safety is a top priority, they will feel that if something happens --whether they are approached by a cyber stranger or bully or receive an inappropriate e-mail - they can approach a parent to resolve the issue without feeling they are in trouble.

  10. Understand Internet Privacy Policies as they apply to your child.

    According to the FTC (http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/childrens.html), parents should be aware of the following as it pertains to protecting their childrens' privacy on the web:

    What Website Operators Must Do:

    Post their privacy policy.

    Websites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices that includes:

    • types of personal information they collect from kids-for example, name, home address, email address or hobbies.
    • how the site will use the information-for example, to market to the child who supplied the information, to notify contest winners or to make the information available through a child's participation in a chat room.
    • whether personal information is forwarded to advertisers or other third parties.
    • a contact at the site.

    Get parental consent.

    In many cases, a site must obtain parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about a child.

    Consent is not required when a site is collecting an email address to:

    • respond to a one-time request from the child.
    • provide notice to the parent.
    • ensure the safety of the child on the site.
    • send a newsletter or other information on a regular basis as long as the site notifies a parent and gives them a chance to say no to the arrangement.

    What Parents Should Do:

    Look for a privacy policy on any website directed to children.

    The policy must be available through a link on the website's homepage and at each area where personal information is collected from kids. Websites for general audiences that have a children's section must post the notice on the homepages of the section for kids.

    Read the policy closely to learn the kinds of personal information being collected, how it will be used, and whether it will be passed on to third parties. If you find a website that doesn't post basic protections for children's personal information, ask for details about their information collection practices.

    Decide whether to give consent.

    Giving consent authorizes the website to collect personal information from your child. You can give consent and still say no to having your child's information passed along to a third party.

    Your consent isn't necessary if the website is collecting your child's email address simply to respond to a one-time request for information.

    Information provided by Netnanny

    10 Tips To Stay Safe Online

    With hacks, scams, malware and more, the Internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. And, the recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected appliances, has opened us up to even greater risks.

    But the good news is that by taking just a small handful of security measures we can greatly reduce our exposure to all these threats.

    Here are some tips to help you get started:

    1. Create Complex Passwords. We know you’ve heard it before, but creating strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts really is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.

    Then, check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. So, to log into an account you may need to enter a code that is sent to your phone, as well as your password and passphrase.

    2. Boost Your Network Security. Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi.The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.

    3. Use a Firewall. Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network.

    4. Click Smart. Now that you’ve put smart tech measures into place, make sure that you don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information.

    5. Be a Selective Sharer. These days, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins.

    6. Protect Your Mobile Life. Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.

    7. Practice Safe Surfing & Shopping. When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. They could be copycats of legitimate websites. Use a safe search tool such as McAfee SiteAdvisor to steer clear of risky sites.

    8. Keep up to date. Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.

    9. Lookout for the latest scams. Online threats are evolving all the time, so make sure you know what to look out for. Currently, ransomwareis on the rise. This is when a hacker threatens to lock you out of all of your files unless you agree to pay a ransom. Stay on top of this and other threats by staying informed.

    10. Keep your guard up. Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. Use comprehensive security software, and make sure to backup your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on.

    Information courtesy of McAfee