In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

The Basics of Computer Safety

Computer Safety

The Internet is a great resource tool for children. Schools endorse Internet usage for children in public and private school settings. Most of the information students need to complete their work is found on the World Wide Web. When the Internet is used in a positive way, it can become a powerful learning and teaching tool. Learn about computer safety now!

Why Is Computer Safety Important

Unfortunately, all tools come with one or more warnings, and the Internet is no exception. Children are the most vulnerable individuals on the Internet. This is due to their age, and inexperience in dealing with predators, and other deceitful children and adults. When children use the Internet to browse, or go to their favorite website, or chat room, they have no reason to believe they are in danger. This is just how trusting most children are.

This is why it is up to the parents to protect their children from online predators. Parents that allow their children to use the Internet unsupervised should put some restrictions on the time of night children can use the Internet, and on the type of websites children are allowed to visit. It is a matter of trust. Some children will agree to certain terms, but as soon as their parents leave the room, or when they feel they are alone, they are tempted to visit those websites they view as enticing and tempting.

For this reason, parents are to take stricter and more permanent methods of monitoring their children’s browsing sessions. There are several ways parents can protect their children, without playing babysitter. With children, trust is everything, but it is a two way street. Children want their parents to trust them. However, children must be willing to earn such trust, by proving they are trustworthy. The best way to prove they are trustworthy is to agree and comply with certain conditions their parents have put in place for computer safety usage while surfing the Internet.

Parents should inform their children of Internet safety browsing, what things to look for while on the Internet, and what things not to do. Once children know the rules, parents can sit with them while they go through the process of logging in, and searching the web. This prior session of Internet browsing will let parents know how well their children remember the rules. Before children are allowed to browse the Internet, or use the computer on their own, parents should develop some trust, as well as some rules.

Guidelines and Computer Safety Tips for Internet Browsing

Rules and guidelines are put in place as guiding tools. When rules and guidelines are followed, many disasters are prevented. This applies to every situation, including Internet browsing. Internet predators thrive on the innocence of children. Predators sit in wait for trusting children, who do not know, that they are about to become online victims.

Most parents enter into an agreement or contract with their children. Parents write out a detailed list of Internet do’s and dont’s, and their children are expected to sign and obey the written rules. The contract serves as an instrument of protection. If the children agree to adhere to the computer safety rules, and the terms of the agreement their parents have drawn up for them, they will be able to browse the Internet safely.

Entering a contract is a serious deal. Adults too must learn to read the fine print, and make sure they understand the terms and conditions laid out in the contract. There are websites that have pre written contracts for parents to alter or use in creating an agreement with their children. Once parents and children have read the contract, parents should allow their children to ask questions. Understanding the rules and the consequences of not following rules, should be explained thoroughly.

When children understand the importance of contracts, how they work, and what happens when there is a breach of contract, they might be less likely to break any rules. Children can sign off on the entire contract with one signature. Parents can also make the contract more technical, and have their children sign off on every single rule, one at a time. Keeping children safe while they are on the computer is a tough job. It is impossible to watch children while they are at school, at home alone, or off with their friends.

This is why it is important for parents to develop a trusting relationship with their children. With the contract in place, parents have more leverage over their children’s Internet sessions. Parents can stipulate that they will be checking on their children’s Internet browsing history from time to time, to ensure they are following the terms of the contract. Knowing this will help children to think twice about stepping outside the terms of the agreement.

Children in this digital age spend hours online doing homework, researching papers, and performing other tasks. Parents might feel like they have little or no control over their children’s online experience. This is simply not true. With the right parental controls in place on the home computer, and the right cell phone spyware program, parents can keep up with every Internet browsing session their children initiate. Parents can be discreet about it, or they can inform their children of their intentions of watching over them.

Some children might feel like their parents do not trust them, but that is not necessarily true. Some children have a pattern of not being completely honest with their parents. As soon as their parents step out of the room, most children are visiting forbidden sites, sharing obscene photos, and doing other acts that are totally opposite of what they promised their parents they would not do.

Parents Should Not Totally Rely on Their Children to Make the Right Choices

Parents should not always assume that their children will make the right decisions, all the time. Children are tempted from every angle to do things that their parents will not agree with. When parents are not in view, children tend to be quietly defiant. They are tempted to visit those websites they heard their friends talking about at school. They are also tempted to upload photos or selfies to show off to their friends. Some social networking sites insist that individuals upload a personal photo. With so many people knowing how to photoshop pictures, uploading photos is not recommended.

Photos can be altered in any fashion and made to look obscene in more ways than one. Parents can always monitor their children Internet browsing sessions, by going to the computer’s web browsing history. The history shows a detailed list of all the places children have visited on the website. The history will give parents some indication as to what their children are up to, when they are left alone.

This will also allow parents the opportunity to make their own decisions, as to whether or not they can trust their children to make the right decisions regarding computer safety, when they are alone. As much as parents want to completely trust their children, it is just not possible in most cases. With so much to see on the World Wide Web, temptation is just a click away. It is easy for children to become captivated with colorful pictures, and fancy words. A friendly site could very well be an adult site, designed to attract children and trick them into giving up personal and private information.

Children are not always wise in their dealings. They are still too trusting, and too vulnerable to be left totally independent. Some choices children make can create serious problems for their parents. Aside from attracting predators, and interacting with hackers, and other negative people online, children can also unintentionally download or open a Trojan or a virus.

Children who enter sites they should not may encounter such a problem. To prevent their parents from finding out, they might enter a credit card number as the message suggests to unlock the computer. Little do they know that computer hackers are using an extravagant form of blackmail or extortion, by holding the computer hostage. They can easily become victims of such scams and put their financial information, as well as their parent’s financial information, at risk of being abused by hackers and extortionists.

The Best Computer Safety Tips for Kids

Parents know that their children are not always looking for the bad guy. They understand that when their children get on the Internet, they are likely to let down their guard, and trust the wrong people. This is why parents should always set up a security system that will monitor and record their children’s online activities.

Computer programs and computer systems have a built in security system for parents to use. Parental control is a tool that is available for parents and other adults to use to protect their children from unsafe Internet browsing. Parents cannot and do not know which sites their kids are visiting; but, when one or more security controls are in place, they can keep their children from entering dangerous websites.

Dangerous websites can be defined as websites that are not children friendly. For instance, websites with nude pictures of cartoons, or websites with profane wording and other indecencies are not appropriate for children, of any age. Some children secretly enter these sites, and quickly become entangled in a cycle of mistrust. Predators pretend to be younger than they actually are, thus gaining children trust.

Even young children can be shown how to use the computer safely to browse the Internet. Children which are old enough to read, can enter the website address on their own. However, it might be safer, and appropriate, for parents to set up the desktop to be more child friendly. For example, children who visit one or more popular websites might do well to have icons placed, on the desktop.

With icons of their favorites sites sitting on the desk top, children can easily click on the icon they want, without entering any website addresses. This is the safest and most secure method for younger children to visit their favorite websites instantly. The possibility of accidentally visiting inappropriate websites is eliminated. Parents can also create a personal folder on the desktop with their children’s name underneath.

The folder can contain all the children’s Internet browsing sections. Children that love playing games online, can save their game settings, passwords, screen names, and other online information, inside their personal folder. This way parents do not have to sit in watch of their children’s online activities for hours at a time. Younger children are more trustworthy in this aspect. They are only too happy to use the computer, so they are more reliable in regards to going to the specific websites they are familiar with.

A site called, ‘Safe Kids’ has a great online contract for younger children to read and understand. Parents can adopt this contract and go over it with their children. The contract is entitled Kid’s Rules for Online Safety. Younger children will find this contract to be easy to understand, non intimidating, and perfect for both them and their parents. The words are in laymen terms, so children will not feel like they are being tricked. Both parents and their children can agree to the terms, and both parents and children can sign the agreement, and make it binding.

The agreement should be placed in a predesignated place, next to the computer. It might be best to place the agreement on the wall over the computer screen, so it is visible at all times. Parents can also go over the rules and terms of the contract agreement several times with their children, to ensure they completely understand every single rule.

Children can ask questions if they are not sure about one of the rules. Sometimes, children think that certain rules should not apply to their friends. Parents should make it clear, that if the contract reads, ‘Do not give any personal information to anyone’, this includes friends as well. Friends are nice to have, but they have to be protected from as well. Some friends like to play pranks on the Internet, which is not good in most cases.

Parents should let their children know that some tricks are inappropriate, and not sharing their passwords with their friends can prevent future problems. Even young children understand the importance of protecting their friendships.

Get it in Writing

There are other places on the Internet that parents can look to find similar contracts for older children. Teens are more challenging than younger children. Teens have more of a full social life outside of home and school. They are most likely to visit social media sites, and visit mature chat rooms. They are also likely to have personal social media pages, and online accounts their parents may not be aware of.

Teens, especially older teens, are more mature than younger teens. Older teens are more wise, and in some cases, are less likely to fall victim to most scams. Parents can still come to an agreement with their teens about computer safety usage. It does not matter how old children are, they still need to be protected from online predators. Even the smartest children are blind sided by convincing words, and a great conversation.

The Internet offers so much in terms of entertainment, excitement and new adventure. It is easy for children to stray away from any good intentions they may have, once curiosity sets in. Parents can find a contract online that is age appropriate for their teens. Teens understand the dangers of being online. There is so much write up in the newspapers and online about the dangers of engaging in online conversation with strangers.

Parents can create or design their own unique contract, or they can actually sit down with their children and design a contract together. This allows teens to list the websites they will be visiting. Parents can also agree to check the website’s browsing history, if they feel their children are being dishonest at any time. Teens are made aware of the consequences they will face, if they are caught visiting websites that their parents do not want them to.

Schools Expose Children to Early Internet Browsing

Children of all ages are taught Internet safety at school, and at home. In lower grade schools computers do not contain many of the icons, and Internet browsers, usually found on higher or upper grade school computers. Parents can make using the computer safer for children in lower grades by installing familiar software on the home computer. Some of the same apps or icons that children are familiar with can help children stay away from unknown websites.

Most parents teach their children how to use the computer and how to surf the Internet, long before they enter school. There are hundreds of computer programs available for children as young as preschool. Parents can start teaching ‘computer safety for kids’ to their children just before they reach preschool age. Many parents begin at age 2 or 3, teaching their children the plain basics of using a computer. Simple little games like musical sounds, clicking on the pictures, and other age appropriate games help to get children familiar with using a computer. Inexpensive computers are available at department toys for younger and older children.

As children get older, parents can upgrade their kids’ computer to a more advanced model that is age appropriate. Today computers are not just desktop designs, they are tablets, ipads, iphones and laptops. Children know how to use these devices to visit any website they want. In elementary school students are expected to use computers to complete their class work assignment. Teachers assign students a password and username that allows them to use a personal computer for a specific amount of time.

The teacher monitors the students Internet sessions the entire time they are on the computer. Computer users that stray to forbidden websites are easily identified and shut down. Children get in trouble for visiting websites they are not allowed to visit. College age students do not need monitoring. In fact, they are familiar with all the dangers of Internet surfing, without using safety practices. It is younger children who need to be protected from Internet predators.

Computer and Internet safety practices are designed to help children use the Internet safely. Children can have a positive browsing experience, if they learn to comply with the safety guidelines of safe Internet browsing. When parents and their children enter into a trust agreement or mutual contract it is up to both the parents and the children to fulfill their end of the agreement.

Parent Can Make a Difference in Safe Internet Browsing

Parents have to remain persistent in delivering the exact type of consequence they say they will, in the event their children violate the terms of the contract. Persistence shows children that parents are serious about keeping them safe, and that there are some rules that should not be broken. The importance of adhering to all the terms and rules of a contract is vital for safety purposes.

As long as parents make an effort and put in the extra time to ensure their children’s safety, children will be protected from online predators that are waiting to take advantage of them.

Parents Can Screen Websites in Advance

Parents can actually screen the websites their children will visit prior to letting their children online. This prior knowledge will allow parents to enforce certain online restrictions or block certain websites. Children trying to log into sites that are not on the list of sites parents deem safe, will not be able to log in.

The Internet has hundreds of websites that are completely safe for children to visit. The Internet provides a source of entertainment for most children in the home. Parents can make a list of approved websites complete with web addresses, for their children to visit. In fact, parents can add these pre approved websites in the appropriate box for Internet settings.

In order to set up this restriction, parents will need to create an administration password; if they do not already have one. The password should be one that children cannot easily guess. It should be kept in a secret place where no one can find it. Screen names should also be guarded with extra care as well. It might be best for parents to memorize their screen names, or create screen names that are too complex, for their children to spell.

Most children know every secret hiding place their parents use. Parents should keep passwords, and other important information locked away in a chest, or jewelry box. However, keeping passwords on a small piece of paper, folded and neatly tucked away inside a wallet or purse, will work just as fine.

Parents should change their passwords often, because some children are great at guessing passwords. Therefore, parents should always choose their passwords carefully. For instance, do not use personal information when creating passwords. Children know that most parents use information they are familiar with such as birthdays, anniversaries, and special dates. Parents should try not to be too obvious.

Children Should Share in Online Responsibilities

Parents are able to completely control the Internet usage of younger children. Children up to age 10 or 11 are more likely to listen to everything their parents tell them about safe browsing. They will most likely use the computer in the presence of their parents and teachers. Children in this age group are curious, but they are more likely to listen to their parents, and steer clear of websites that look unfamiliar.

Older children are not so easy to control. Children ages 12 and up have more freedom using the Internet at home, and at school. Cell phones also provide an opportunity for older children to get past their parents rules, and visit websites that they are curious about. Older children are friends with children of other ages. This may make it easier for children to gain access to information about websites that are not appropriate for children under the age of 18.

Being curious is a trait nearly all children have. Therefore, parents are not able to completely block the different types of websites their children can pull up on their cell phones. With older children parents can only offer suggestions, as to which websites to stay away from. The final decision is up to the children; whether parents are willing to admit this fact or not. When children are not around their parents, they do things they should not.

Parents should encourage children not to click on any online ads. Online ads can be dangerous to the computer safety, as they may contain viruses. Many predators, hackers, and malware products usually pop up on the computer, when certain websites are visited. If possible, parents should always monitor their children’ Internet sessions, to ensure their safety, and the safety of their family.

Children are too trusting. Parents should encourage their children to never share their password with anyone on the Internet. Giving away personal information is not allowed. It is a dangerous move that many families live to regret. When children are on the Internet, they are not thinking about any bad guys; they basically just want to have fun. It is tempting for them to see colorful pictures and wording and not click on the images or links.

This includes visiting those forbidden websites parents have warned their children to stay away from. Parents can still control their children’s cell phone usage. Parents can install a software program for cell phones, similar to spyware. Cell phone spyware allow parents to access the information hidden inside their children’s cell phones. Parents can know exactly which sites their children visit, how long they stay on each site, and other pertinent information.

Other ways Parents Can Ensure Safe Internet Browsing

Parents can further ensure that their children will be experiencing computer safety and responsible Internet browsing by implementing a few rules of their own. First of all, parents should be certain that their passwords are not left laying around in places that are accessible to their children. Children which are too young to visit certain websites can easily do so, if they know their parents’ passwords.

Set up a security feature on the computer that will prevent the download of unauthorized files, without a computer administrator password. Parents can also set up a security password to prevent children from visiting certain website domains. Setting up security features is easy to do on a personal computer. The control panel allow parents access to the computer’s Internet settings menu, and other built in computer features.

Parents should not allow their children to go into chatrooms that are not age appropriate. Even age appropriate chatrooms may not be suitable for most children. Many predators visit children chatrooms, and disguise themselves as children. Parents can visit chatrooms that are age appropriate; complete a thorough research, and find out as much as possible about the websites, and the owners of the sites. If the sites are legitimate, parents can inquire as to whether or not the sites have any security features in place to protect their children.

These are reasonable requests that every parent should want to know, before allowing their children to participate in an online chat session. For instance, all social media networking sites are not appropriate for children. Social media networking sites like Facebook or Twitter are not suited for younger children. Inappropriate language, obscene pictures and inappropriate materials are often visible on these networking sites. Although, some pictures and some information are not harsh, parents will have to sort through the information to determine if it is harmful to their children.

Parents can avoid exposing their children to obscene and offensive materials on the Internet. This is done by using parental control. When parents use parental control features to protect their children Internet’s browsing, they can be certain that their children are only visiting sites they approve of.

 

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