Belinda @ Kids Matter
The age of cyber predators has arrived and there sits your child fully enthralled in playing that educational game. The child has not a worry in the world, but lurking behind the scenes, a predator could be monitoring your child. Not only is the child at risk, but so is your computer and everything you have stored on it. In one click you could open the door to hackers and viruses. How do you keep both your child and your electronic gadgets safe?
Never leave your child unattended while they are on the internet. If they are old enough to peruse their games and favorite sites without your assistance, you should at least be in the same room or check on them often. Kids love to explore, and exploring the internet could lead to danger.
Utilize anti-virus software on your computer. Sites such as AVG, McAfee, Norton, and AVAST all offer free, (or a free trial), software for protection. It is also good to keep a malware program on your computer such as Malware Bytes or Ad-Aware. Set up the software to run on a schedule that will protect you as needed. One suggestion is to run both programs once a week.
Most sites deposit “cookies” which are defined by Webopedia as, “A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.” Per Webopedia, “Cookies cannot read your hard drive to find out information about you; however, any personal information that you give to a Web site, including credit card information, will most likely be stored in a cookie unless you have turned off the cookie feature in your browser. In only this way are cookies a threat to privacy. The cookie will only contain information that you freely provide to a Web site.” You can set the level of security on your computer. Always be mindful what information you provide on the internet because chances are the information is being stored on your computer. It’s a good practice to occasionally delete your cookies and cache of previously viewed web pages. The more careful you are, the more secure your system will be.
Video chatting can give a predator a lot of information. Clues to location are all around your child. A school logo on a t-shirt can lead the predator right to your child. Monitor who your child chats with and where they are chatting. Children don’t realize they are surrounded by clues to their location.
Set ground rules! Monitoring your child on the Internet is not a violation of their privacy. You wouldn’t let them go off in a park with someone you didn’t know, would you? Communicate with your child and instruct them of security issues such as, clicking links received in an email. Don’t respond to emails from unknown persons. Make certain they understand to never give out their personal information to anyone online. Let them know, if they don’t know if something is safe, ask a trusted adult.
Activate those parental controls! Software such as Qustodio, K9 Web Protection, and DNS Angel offer free parental control software. The more thorough you are, the more you, your child, and the electronic device is protected.It’s always work keeping your child safe, whether it’s out on the street or in your home. Parents are the child’s first line of defense. If you don’t push back the offenders, they will surely find a way to breach the defense. I wish safe and secure surfing for you and your precious child.