Children present unique security risks when they use a computer — not only do you have to keep them safe, you have to protect the data on your computer. By taking some simple steps, you can dramatically reduce the threats.
- Speak their language. Whether it’s text messaging, e-mails, or in chat rooms, young people have developed a digital language all their own. Do you know what your kids are saying online? Predators do. Some acronyms are fun and harmless and others will shock you. Visit Safekids.ne.gov.
- Know the latest craze. As an example, Blogging. A Blog is a website functions as an online journal or diary and can be written by one person or a group of contributors. It may sound relatively harmless, but predators look for individuals who are lonely, experiencing family problems, or had a recent breakup and even look for clues such as a school name, birthdates, friends names to try and meet up with the student.
- Explore the Internet with your children. It’s the best way to know what they see and to help them find kid-friendly sites. (Check out our Kid Friendly Web sitessection).
- Once you’re at the sites remind kids to be careful in giving out their real name, address or other personal information in a chat room, to online pen pals or on electronic bulletin boards.
- Use an online filter. Most Internet providers offer a filter to their customers. If they don’t, consider purchasing software that can filter their activity when you’re not around.
- Set online rules (when, why and with whom present) and let your children know that using the Internet for personal reasons is a privilege and not a right.
- Teach your children the meaning of private and personal – even family – information. Encourage them to post messages only with your permission and supervision.
- Show your child the difference between advertisement and entertainment. A young child may not realize when a favorite cartoon is gathering market data or trying to sell them something.
Even though children may have better technical skills, don't be intimidated by their knowledge. Children still need advice, guidance, and protection. Keep the lines of communication open and let your child know that you can be approached with any questions they may have about behaviors or problems encountered on the computer.
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