Parents Need to Maintain Internet Security
In many households nationwide, laptop and desktops abound.
Yes, even while mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets continue to be scooped up by consumers, the more traditional desktop or laptop computers still have a solid standing in America’s homes.
That being the case, using the Internet safely should still be the top priority anytime someone gets online. Otherwise, they could be exposing themselves and family members to cyber-attacks and even worse.
So, how can parents make sure their children are not falling prey to criminals online?
Having the right identity theft protection provider on your side is a great beginning.
With the right provider in your corner, you substantially lessen the odds that your home computer/s will be ripe for attack.
Education and Knowing Right from Wrong
When it comes to the little ones at home, educating your children about the lurking dangers on the Internet is key.
Without scaring them into wanting to avoid the worldwide web, educate your daughters and sons on how to stay away from online criminals, why it is important to keep personal information just that, and avoid downloading any suspicious email attachments.
Breaking those three areas down, remember to focus on:
- Staying away from online criminals – Although cyber-criminals would be happy to gleam personal financial and other such data from your kids online, there is another online criminal that is even more of a threat, the online predator. While adults can easily fall for predators when it comes to online dating as one example, kids typically prove much more vulnerable to such people. For example, your young son or daughter may be feeling unhappy and not accepted around the house. In the meantime, an adult strikes up a conversation with him or her online. While many such conversations will ultimately turn out to be harmless, some are not so fortunate. That conversation could be an attempt by an online predator to lure your son or daughter out of the house, possibly for good. Just as kids (including older teens) should not talk to strangers in public unless they feel there is absolutely no threat at hand, kids on computers should be even more careful. Unlike an in-person encounter where you can usually get a full look at the person, online conversations typically do not yield such clues. Your 16-year-old daughter may think she’s talking to a woman in her 20’s, though that person on the other end of the online chat is actually a man in his 60’s;
- Don’t divulge personal information – Your children should also steer clear of divulging personal details when using the Internet. Topics such as where they live, what school they go to, who their friends are, what their daily schedules typically are etc. should all be kept personal. As too many news stories have frighteningly detailed over the last few decades, a child purposefully or accidentally gives out their home address when talking with a stranger online. Next thing you know, that stranger could end up staking out the home and/or even trying to enter it at the time just the child is at home. Erring on the safe side is always the road to travel;
- Avoid downloading suspicious email attachments – Finally, while an online criminal may have zero interest in your child, they may use them to get to you. Figuring that adults are smart enough not to download a suspicious email attachment (that certainly is not always the case), cyber-criminals may send one to a family computer or even a teen’s computer, hoping the child in the house will in fact download and open it. What the unsuspecting child doesn’t know is that there is malicious malware in the attachment. Once it is opened, the cyber-criminal can work his or her way into the family’s computer system, potentially getting their hands on sensitive financial data. Always remind your kids to only open attachments from trusted people (other family members not living in the home etc.).
With all the negative scenarios presented above (this does not include all of them), taking risks online when you have kids at home is too dangerous.
Make sure you have the best security software around, coupled with education and good old commonsense.