The Internet is a dangerous place, as there are numerous different dangers lurking in the dark. Especially for people who are not that familiar with the methods and tactics that are used by cyber criminals on the web, there is great room for problems to emerge. One example among many disturbing ones from the past is the story of 17 year old British teen, who hanged himself up because of a fake spam police email sent by bad actors. Children are quite vulnerable against these threats, as they tend to be less suspicious and they seem to behave in an impulsive manner more than adults. So, this leaves kids at a truly jeopardized place; there needs to be the proper attention towards safeguarding children and preventing problems from occurring on a regular basis.
Internet security includes all of the details and aspects that add to the maintenance of the optimal, thoroughly protected user experience. In cases where the users cannot protect themselves, even greater attention ought to be drawn and the right precaution measures need to be taken on behalf of them. As you will come to realize, kids need to be protected for multiple reasons and there cannot be any compromise regarding their protection. Below, we are highlighting these reasons and we try to come up with the best tips that can lead to kids’ thorough Internet security.
Why You Need Internet Safety for Your Kids
As we have stated above, kids are rather vulnerable against security breaches and problems that come up on the web. Keeping your children safe is your responsibility, and not their own – to be honest! So, we need to be kept on alert and remain vigilant at all times towards ensuring that children are kept protected by all means. Here’s why kids are in direct and indisputable need of safety on the Internet:
- Prevention against Hacking: Hackers try to find the least powerful users to target. Children do not have the proper education and the right kind of knowledge, to spot hacking attempts as a whole. So, it is not rare as a phenomenon for hackers to choose kids as their targets. There needs to be thorough protection against hacking attempts, in avoidance of problems that are directly related to hacking.
- Stay away from Pornography: Porn can lead to malware and other problems, while kids should remain away from pornography for other reasons as well. Adult content should only be allowed for viewing to adults by definition and therefore kids ought not to reach out to such illegal content and content of untrustworthy sources.
- Prevention against Phishing: Similarly to hacking, there are phishing attacks that need to be prevented in the case of kids. It is common for websites to redirect to others, misleading users. Particularly kids are vulnerable to such a mischievous scheme. So, another reason why Internet safety tips are vital for kids is the protection against phishing.
- Other Reasons: Identity theft, cyber bullying and data interception, as well as communication with people who do not have a cause are among the major reasons why children should receive the proper protection on the web upfront.
Now that we have outlined the need for security among children in cyberspace, it is high time for us to go ahead with the most important Internet safety tips for kids. Let’s find out what we can do for raising awareness and guaranteeing the optimum level of online security to them, shall we?
Secure Internet Tips for Children
So, let’s have a look at what we can do as parents and adults altogether towards protecting our kids and providing them with secure Internet. We have gathered the top 15 tips that everyone should become aware of:
- Being Educated on the Dangers: It is a terrible mistake not to inform our kids on the dangers that lurk on the web. Not knowing can in fact ham our children and therefore it is far better to know than to ignore something as threatening as an online jeopardy. You should make sure to educate your kids on what they need to pay attention to and who they ought to protect themselves from. Terms like hacking, malware and identity theft should be no mystery to them.
- Spend Time with Them: When you become alienated with your kids, it is a sure path to disaster. Technology is no exception to this rule and the web can become a lot more dangerous for children who do not spend quality time with their parents and other senior relatives. With quality time, we mean that you ought to spend time talking about things your kids are interested in and of course this includes technology issues.
- No Personal Information: This is a rule of thumb and thus it is found at number three of our kids Internet safety tips. When kids share personal information online, they instantly place themselves at risk; you do not know who will read about their whereabouts and their address, their itinerary and other personal details that they can take advantage of.
- Listen to Them: When you listen to your kids, you can prevent a lot of dangers from actually happening. Open up your ears and pay attention to what has been bothering them or what they want to know more of. This is the best advice for every parent and everyone else close to kids.
- No Internet People Meetings: It can be tempting to meet a person who you have just met on the Internet in real life; nevertheless, you can never be sure as to who is sitting in front of the screen on the web and you should not take any chances. Unless you know who you are talking to and unless you have discussed about it with your parents, meeting someone on the spur of the moment and not knowing who he is cannot happen… EVER!
- Up-to-Date Software: In order to secure the Internet for your kids, you need to control the device that they use and make sure that the software used is up-to-date. The latest version of an OS includes all the security fixes that have been gathered after a lot of hard research. Without it, it feels like you are setting out on a journey without the proper gear and expecting to come back home safe.
- No Inappropriate Pictures: Being a kid and especially a teen can lead to several questions and insecurities. Among them, there is the need of the child for admiration and self-esteem boost. Sometimes for attracting positive feedback and for encouraging others to express admiration, kids upload inappropriate pictures on the web and share them with others. This is really dangerous, as there are people out there who can harm a child and lure their prey for truly horrific purposes.
- No Response to Rude Comments: Kids should be made considerate as to why they ought not to respond to any rude texting. Even if the message sent to them seems to be coming from an attractive source (for instance, a person whose picture looks really handsome or beautiful), conversing with such people is off the question. A lot of threats can emerge from something like that and it is definitely not worth the risk.
- Parental Control Software: It is crucial for parents to be able and monitor their kids’ behavior online. In order to do so, there are quite a few programs that allow parents to control what their children do on the Internet. For further information on the most qualitative free parental control software options for you, you can check out here.
- Enable Anti-Spyware Protection: Spyware can slow down the performance of a computer and even spy on the user’s behavior for advertising and for other reasons. This is why it is of paramount importance to enable anti-spyware software to the computer that our kids use daily. All at once, they should be educated on what they need to avoid (for example, no clicking on links that are not reliable or on pop-up windows).
- No Password Sharing: Under no circumstances need you should share your password with anyone else, not at all. This applies to children, as well as adults. No matter how close you are with your best friend or your parents, your siblings or your favorite teacher, the password that we use needs to be unique and hard to guess; so, if the goal of ours is to keep a password undetectable, why reveal it to somebody else in the first place?
- No Download / Installation of Software: Kids cannot fully comprehend where something comes from online; this is why they ought to avoid downloading and installing software. The details that guarantee the validity and credibility of a software vendor or distributor cannot be read and understood by kids, which makes it a rule not to engage in such activities on the Internet.
- Privacy Settings of Social Media: In avoidance of security breaches and incidents of identity theft, social media should be dealt with cautiously. One of the fundamental issues to consider is the adjustment of privacy settings. Head to the proper privacy settings and choose wisely who you wish to share your personal info with and other aspects of your social media account. Particularly on Facebook, you should check these options.
- Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network: Although the home network of yours is meant to be used by members of your own family, this does not mean that it should be left without protection. You should consider adding a strong (mixture of numbers, letters and special symbols) password to keep all other intruders at bay or even installing a solid firewall that will allow nobody to penetrate your wireless network without your consent.
- “Would You Do That Face to Face?”: Something that you need to think of prior to posting online or behaving in a specific manner is the question above. If in fact you would not do something face to face, then it is probably best not to do that online, either. Do not bully or be extra cynical, do not misbehave and do not talk in a bad manner, do not share too much information and do not hesitate to talk with your parents and with the people who you are close to, should something make you feel uncomfortable.
We cannot shut kids off the web, since technology has invaded our lives and has made them a lot more fun and intriguing. This, however, does not mean that kids should be left unattended and without any guidance; they need to spread their wings and explore the world, but we have to be there for them and make sure that they do not jeopardize their safety online. It is what this guide has been aiming to do, providing some effective ways that encourage a secure Internet for kids and teens everywhere! If anyone has got anything to add further, please share your experience and insights via the comment section below as keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility.
Top/Featured Image: By Lucélia Ribeiro / Flickr