On the Internet, you can find information about – and images of – almost anything. However, when it comes to your children’s online activities, you need to make sure they’re protected against contact with undesirable people, inappropriate or harmful content, and malicious software or attacks.
Internet safety for kids
There’s a wide range of dangers that can affect kids online:
Contact with undesirable people, including:
Being approached by pedophiles – for example, in Internet chat rooms
Being targeted by online bullies
Being tricked into disclosing personal information – about your child or about you
Inappropriate content, such as:
Sexually explicit content
Downloads of pirated materials – including music or video files
Computer security issues:
Drive-by downloads – whereby simply visiting a website can result in malicious programs being automatically installed on your child’s computer
Malware infections from peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs – can give other people access to your child’s computer
Unwanted advertising, pop-ups, and adware programs – that are often automatically installed when freeware or shareware programs are downloaded
Internet Security tips – to help improve your kids’ online safety
Children can be just as vulnerable online as they are in the real world. So it’s important that you do whatever you can to reduce the chances of your kids being exposed to any risks. Here are a few online safety tips to help keep your kids safe online:
Talk to your children about the potential dangers that they may face online.
If possible, locate the computer in a family room.
Try to make the computer a shared family experience.
Encourage your children to talk to you about anything they experience online that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Restrict the content that can be accessed via the computer:
Many Internet security solutions can help you to do this
Internet Explorer includes a Content Advisor that can also help
Provide guidelines that let your child know what they are allowed – and are not allowed – to do on the Internet. For example, your guidelines could tell your child whether they are permitted to:
Register with social networking or other websites
Make online purchases
Download music, video, or program files
Use instant messaging programs
Visit Internet chat rooms
If your child is allowed to use instant messaging and / or visit chat rooms, it’s worth explaining to them that it’s dangerous to chat with or send messages to anyone that they don’t know and trust.
Install a rigorous anti-malware product that’s capable of defending the computer against malicious programs and hackers. Many Internet security software products combine antivirus capabilities and advanced Parental Control features that make it easier to protect your children when they’re online.
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