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Protecting kids from the dangers of the Internet isn’t getting any easier. More devices mean more ways for kids to land themselves (or you) in a cyber minefield. The most sobering Internet statistic that’s been drummed up recently is that in 2014 alone 317 million new computer viruses and malware were launched. Cyberbullying is also becoming increasingly problematic, in large part because of electronic devices being misused.
Internet security is no easy task, but it’s a necessity in today’s connected world. Just as you teach your kids not to talk to strangers and lock your doors at night, precautions also have to be taken online.
Third Party Security Software
Despite the growing number of bugs and cyber criminals, there are security software programs that can protect against the bulk of it. There is also third party security software that provides additional features like monitoring Internet use and activity. Usually it’s well worth the investment and peace of mind.
Monitor Mobile Devices
With new ways to access the Internet flourishing, there are also new programs built specifically for mobile device security. Web Safety is one example of how free apps are being used to monitor user activity and improve safety. The app allows parents to see which websites their children have visited, how they are interacting with others online and where they are located in real time.
Browser Security Settings
Every browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) provides some sort of customization for security features. This can be found in the settings section and adjusted to block both pop-ups and specific websites. Even if just one browser is currently being used, the settings of all browsers should be adjusted.
Operating System Security Settings
The operating system (Windows, iOS, etc.) should also have some sort of safety features that can be turned on and adjusted. These can also help block access to certain sites or help monitor computer use.
Don’t Forget About Online Gaming
Most of today’s gaming consoles are Internet connected, which means now your kids can be bullied and taken advantage of while playing their video games. Monitor your kids while in play and discuss the importance of not divulging personal information with other players.
Set Ground Rules for Downloading
Downloads are a common hiding spot for nasty viruses. Cyber criminals will send kids links prompting them to download a game or document that will unleash malware. For that reason it’s best to set ground rules that links and downloads are never to be opened from an unknown source.
Set Ground Rules for Joining
It’s also a good idea to set distinct parameters for what sites your kid can join and whether they can join new sites without your permission. This will help you keep track of their Internet activity.
Have a Heart-to-Heart With Teens About Social Repercussions
Teens get themselves in trouble on social media every day. One slip up is all it takes to limit job opportunities well into the future or create an image of themselves that they may not want out there years later. It’s also a common forum for cyber bullying. Kids have to be taught that how they behave on social media can have real world repercussions.
Password Protect Everything
They can be annoying, but passwords are still a necessity for Internet protection. Anytime you have the option to use one do so along with these password tips:
- · Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
- · Never use personal information like a birth date.
- · Get a password manager like Dashlane 3 if you want to keep a record for reference.
Check Your Kid’s Credit Score Regularly
Seriously. There are creeps out there who use the identity of kids to scam, steal and swindle. They are perfectly content to drag your kid’s credit score through the mud if it means a few extra dollars in their pocket. For kids 14 and older you can request a copy of their credit report from TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. If a child is under 14 file a report with the agencies and the police.