In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Parents Internet Safety: A Parent’s Cheat Sheet to the Cyber World

A cheat sheet for Parents Internet Safety is all you need right now. You may or may not be an Internet user. You may not be enamored with technology. But rest assured your kids are. Here’s a cheat sheet to understanding the Cyber World and keeping your kids safe online. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be to stop cyber bullying. Learn all about Parents Internet Safety NOW!

Parents Internet Safety : Types of parental tools available

There are plenty of tools available to you to restrict the type of information your child can view online. The following types of parental tools are available to you, these are the perfect tools related to parents and internet safety:

  • Router: you can manage safety controls on your router. The router is the device that connects into the cable outlet and brings all the devices in your home to the Internet. The nice thing about establishing parental controls at the router level is that the restrictions cover all devices that are connected via that router: laptops, PCs, wireless phones, tablets and iTouches.
  • Internet service provider: your ISP often offers free parental controls. Visit their Web site or make a call to find out what is available.
  • Web browser: your web browser, whether it’s Microsoft Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox – all offer parental controls. Find out what’s available from your browser menu and access these free parental controls.
  • Software: you can purchase programs to restrict access to specific sites, avoid language and set specific time limits for individual computer use. You can even schedule what time of day Internet use is permitted. Many of these programs protect themselves against hacking, so your kids cannot disable the settings.
  • Mobile parental controls: parental control applications for mobile devices filter specific content. Many of these are free. Check your mobile application store.
  • Service provider parental controls: mobile and Internet service providers allow basic parental control plans, set up according to age. Many of these can be turned on simply by visiting your service provider Web page. You also can call your service provider to find out what tools are included in your current plan.
  • Social network software: parental control software can also be specific to the social networking Web sites that your kids visit. Some parental monitoring tools can send parents alerts regarding Facebook friend posts that might be dangerous. These software applications need to be installed in each social networking account.
  • Parental controls for game systems: these controls are found on the gaming console. Research the settings your system offers you. For example, you may be able to restrict games to a specific rating to be played. You also can restrict online gaming features, which allows your kids to play with other players from different locations online. If you allow online gaming, you may want to reserve for yourself the ability to approve friend requests. Some game systems also allow you to set days and times for gaming, with time limits for those specific dates.
  • Spyware: software that captures online activity is a more aggressive parental control. Such programs install in stealth mode and capture passwords, photos and text. Large amounts of information are regularly collected. If you have reason to suspect your child’s online activity must be tracked, this solution may be the one for you.

Parents Internet Safety: What parental controls can do

Parental controls impose limitations on kids’ activities. They can also send you alerts for any activity that you have flagged. Below are listed some of the things you can gain with parental controls designed for parents and internet safety:

  • Direct your child’s email to your account before it hits their inbox.
  • Kick back email from specific email addresses, particularly from someone you suspect may be cyberbullying.
  • Block email with offensive, bullying language.
  • Block sending out emails that contain personal information from being sent.
  • Provide different limits and restrictions for each family member, assigning user names.

Parents Internet Safety: Consider restricting these sites

  • Web sites with sexually explicit images and text.
  • Web sites promoting violence, drugs, bullying, cults and bigotry.
  • Games that contain inappropriate sexual content and language.
  • False stories and urban legends / myths.
  • Surveys that deceptively request personal information as part of a game or contest.

The amount of information online may make it tough to know which sites are safe for kids. Age, of course, has to be taken into account. There are resources online to help you better direct your kids to Web sites that are safe for kids, reducing the likelihood of cyberbullying. The Association for Library Services for Children has a recommended list of Web sites for kids here.

Parents Internet Safety: Terms you need to know

  • Apps: applications that promise a game that other users or friends on social networking sites are using. Downloading these apps often gives developers access to personal information that has nothing to do with the application. Establish specific rules with your kids as to what apps they can download. Be clear about your expectations so there are no misunderstandings.
  • Chatting: online conversations. These can be with established friends on lists or they can be with anyone online.
  • Chat rooms: designated areas online where conversations take place. Chat rooms can take place on social networking sites, where a communication box opens for a conversation. These boxes can be reduced while the user maintains the same Web page open. Make sure to check open tabs when monitoring your child’s Web use. You can restrict access to certain chat rooms or you can block access to all chat rooms. Parental controls also allow you to block a specific user.
  • COPPA: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is an updated rule introduced by the Federal Trade Commission. The new rule limits the private information it can gather from tweens, or children below the age of thirteen. The new rule goes into effect July 1, 2013. http://www.coppa.org
  • Cyberstalking / Cyberharassment: the term used when the Internet or any other electronic means is used to stalk or harass someone. Actions include monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex.
  • IM: an instant message (IM) is an message exchanged in real time. It simulates a live conversation, but is in text.
  • Internet history: your browser menu offers internet history, which tracks all the Web sites visited, day to day. Depending on your browser, internet history is typically kept for 30 days. If you want to know the sites your child has been visiting, check your internet history often. Make it a rule that this cannot be cleared or erased. If you notice that your computer’s internet history has been cleared, it is an indicator that a user is wanting to clear sites visited.
  • P2P file-sharing: Peer-to-peer file-sharing wherein kids share games, music and videos informally. The danger is that kids could inadvertently provide other users with access to your private files. If the material being shared is copyrighted, you could face legal repercussions. As with any file sharing, the exchanged data could contain a virus, spyware or malware. If your child often shares files with peers, make sure you’ve installed file-sharing software on your computer and that all anti-virus software is updated.
  • Phishing: the practice involving fake texts, emails or pop-up messages encouraging people to share their address, full name, birth-date, age, financial or other personal data. Often, kids are targeted with lucrative ads, often alerting them to have won a prized gaming system. Set specific rules with your kids about responding to any texts, emails or surveys from unfamiliar people. Discuss with them the dangers of opening attachments and inadvertently downloading spyware or malware on your computer.
  • Pop-up ads / pop-ups: advertising that pops up on your existing screen or sometimes in a separate window. Sometimes these pop-ups can look legitimate and may have content related to the site which you voluntarily visited. Educate your kids to never click on a page which they do not voluntarily visit.
  • Sexting: a term comprised of the words sex and text messaging. These messages contain provocative language and in some cases, visual images. Sexting can take place on mobile phones or on any type of computer or tablet with an Internet connection. According to Susan Lipkins, a psychologist specializing in bullying and hazing reports that kids as young as 9 years old may be sexting.
  • Spam: unsolicited email. Some of these spam emails may contain sexually explicit material, promote false contests, announce bogus product wins, or solicitations for money.
  • Trojans: these are malicious programs that give unauthorized third parties unauthorized access to your computer. Do not visit questionable sites that may download these viruses onto your computer. To not click on links embedded in emails from people you don’t know.
  • Virus: a program that is loaded onto your computer unbeknownst to you. Viruses can make copies of themselves, quickly using up all available memory. Some viruses can transmit themselves across networks.
  • Web: this term is short for the World Wide Web. This is an Internet system that communicates information users at different locations. The Web is also known as WWW or W3. The Web is only one type of service on the Internet. Other services (although not commonly used) are Relay Chat and Newsgroups.
  • Web-based e-mail: users are able to send and receive e-mail using only an Internet browser instead of using a purchased e-mail program.
  • Worm: a malicious program that multiplies over a network. Will eventually shut a system down.
  • Virus: a harmful program downloaded onto your computer without your consent or knowledge. Once on your computer, viruses can duplicate, interfering with the function of your computer or network.
  • Wi-Fi: Wireless fidelity is a network that allows access to the internet from one end point. Your Wi-Fi network should be secured to avoid having perpetrators intercepting sensitive communications, including financial transactions.

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