We want the web to work for you!
We would like to share some of the things we have learned about surfing the internet that we feel everyone should know. The internet can be both an enriching place and to some, it can be a dangerous place. Children are especially vulnerable to online predators and care should be taken, not to monitor your child's online habits, but to educate how your child could be manipulated on the internet.
Unfortunately it is not only children who are vulnerable. Anyone can become a victim on the internet, it may not be something as serious as being lured by a predator but it can harm you, especially if your confidential information is compromised. There are several things you should be aware of and we are going to try to list our opinions on how to safeguard yourself on the internet the best that you can.
The most important thing to know is that the internet can be a dangerous place. Using common sense on the net is the best defence against dangers. Many of the things you do in everyday life also apply to the internet. For instance, if a package came to your door and it wasn't addressed to you, wasn't something you ordered but said in poor English that they hoped you enjoyed their little game, would you open it? I think not, same goes for that unaddressed email with an attachment from someone you don't know. Simply do not open it.
Unfortunately it isn't that simple. With program exploits, hackers can gain access to your computer without you even having to open the attachment. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to keep your operating system and software up to date with the latest versions. For Windows users, you should have Automatic Updates turned on, or for a little more security, set it to warn you before automatically installing updates. You can turn this on in the control panel under Automatic Updates.
It is your job to be informed as a parent and keep tabs on your child. You would not let your child venture out to the park at 10 PM to speak candidly with strangers, then why would you let them do this very same thing online? With the age of chat rooms and web cams, there is little you can do to protect your child if you are not standing over their shoulder at every moment. Eventually they will come across someone you would never allow them to speak to outside of the internet. What you must do is educate your child of the dangers of their activities and help them to stay safe.
Let your child know that you want them to tell you when something out of the ordinary happens. Tell them that they can approach you with any information they want to share, even if they think it is embarrassing or rude. Let them know that you don't mind they communicate with people online but if someone out of their circle of friends who visit your house wants to meet up with them in private, you must insist that you be told. Most importantly, if someone threatens them online with physical harm, they must tell you immediately. You must impress upon them that this is a noble act as it will most likely keep others from being hurt as well as them.
Keep the communication lines open and you should be able to stop any troubles before they happen. If you suspect that your child, or another member of the household, is visiting sites they shouldn't be, you can look into their online activities using the history settings in their browser. Visit our "how do you tell where someone or kids has been on the web" page
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