Tips for Parents


What parents and guardians can do to minimize your child from becoming a victim on the Internet is to be vigilant and stay involved with your child and your child's lifestyle.Become familiar with social networking and user interactive sites that your child accesses. At all times, keep open communication with your child so that they feel safe and secure discussing all aspects of their Internet associations with you. For more information visit netsmartz411.org.

You can open up this dialogue by asking your child what social networking and user interactive sites they use and how they work.Most social networking and user interactive sites are easy to examine and evaluate, this will assist you with understanding your childÂ’s interest and enable you to assess how well they understand the issues associated with using the service.Of course, parental controls such as filtering or monitoring software on which you can set the permissions to manage your child's access are very important tools to be aware of.Additional information regarding these parental controls can be located on www.getnetwise.org.

It is paramount that you become and stay aware of what social networking and interactive sites your children are using.It is a greater concern, and one that you should inform your children, that these social network and interactive sites can be accessed through a mobile device, mobile telephone, as well as a PC or laptop. Discussing this with your child and how they should be careful as to what sites they access is extremely important.

Instruct your children of the importance of registering their correct age to ensure that the safety protection tools provided on each social networking site or interactive site is in place.Pay attention to and visit the sites they are linking to, become familiar with the features and content of the sites and what each social network or interactive site has to offer.Be aware of what links are posted on each site, that may direct your child to a site that is not appropriate for them to view or participate in. Some sites will allow the creation of a web space; a profile; allow blogging; making friends; instant messaging and chatting; posting videos and photographs, these sites can be of particular concern.

You and your child should decide on a schedule to sit down and review their contact/friends list on a regular basis and to make sure what personal information is being shared is appropriate.Take the time and opportunity to visit and view all their profiles on social networking sites; and remember, some children have a version for their parents and another for their friends.Have frank discussions regarding the mechanisms available to them to manage their profile. All users have the flexibility to change a privacy setting, block users and report abuses, as well as having an option to cancel an account.

Parents and guardians must pay attention to the terms and conditions of each site, specifically the rules for using the service, and what is acceptable behavior on the service.Close attention should be paid to the age requirement to register for the service, the safety advice provided on the service for the user and what safety tools the service is including. Some safety tools to be aware of are: user profiles and viewing user profiles to check what personal information is published; privacy controls by looking for privacy tools offered by a site, privacy settings coupled with age and how they can be changed; and reporting concerns to the site when users need to report any difficulties they are having.

Technical tips for parents and guardians can be found at www.interent101.org. This site drills down with the detail required for each home based computer system to be truly secured from outside hackers.The important issue is that should your system be compromised, it could cause massive interruption to your personal life.If illegal activity is assigned to your IP address, Justice and Law Enforcement officials will be well within their jurisdictional rights to confiscate your personal computer, all associated files and documents, leaving your personal and household day to day operations in limbo for an indefinite period of time.

It is almost impossible to completely protect your computer, but you can help prevent cyber attacks and protect your own personal information by taking precautions. Protect your e-identity by using different user Id and password combinations for different accounts.Make the passwords complicated and change them on a regular basis.Keep your operating system and programs updated by downloading system updates to your computer on a regular basis.Software makers discover vulnerabilities in their programs on a regular basis, putting computers at risk for infection with a virus or spyware. By keeping your software updated, you minimize this risk.Activate your firewall, which is the first line of cyber defense and install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep it updated.Back up your files and store them in a different location.Protect your wireless network and insure that this has been completed by your Wi-fi provider. Delete e-mails from unknown senders and when browsing the Internet, use safe effective measures to never give out personal information unless otherwise aware of the after action consequences. Call the police and report any suspicious activity associated with your personal computer and contact a reliable technician for software and hardware installation questions. Choose an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that is user friendly and has helpful tips and staff to assist with your family account. Use filtering and blocking software, for additional information visit www.mediasmarts.ca to learn more.Keep track of the programs on your computer and make sure your children understand they are not to install new software on your computer or theirs without first consulting you.Be very cautious when downloading files or performing file sharing functions.Purchase computer software from vendors that speak with knowledge and direct you and your family to the best software solutions for personal and business use.

Always report abuse and seek advice and help from the justice and law enforcement community. Contact your internet service provider if problems or difficulties occur. Use the tools offered with your service to block; ignore; filter; and report any issues to your service provider, and if applicable, the social networking site as well. Your network provider will provide contact information and links to sources for expert assistance.

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