keep your family safe online at home
Technology is used more and more at home and by the whole family, especially our kids who can quite often be more tech savvy than their parents. But in the overwhelming world of technology, how do you keep your kids safe online?
There are now many online toys, apps, games, social networks and tools, aimed at kids for fun or learning. It is easy to overlook security measures and cybercrooks are always looking for new ways to exploit us out of hard cash and data. Here are some points you might want to consider doing to keep your family safe:-
WiFi Network – you want to make sure your WiFi is safe from hackers who are looking for access to infect your laptops and PC’s with malware or even use your system to send out malware attacks. The best thing you can do at home is to make sure that you use a strong password for your router, never leave it with the factory set password it comes with. It is also advisable to change it regularly, use a long password with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. This applies to any online account that you have. If you do have the option to use a security question that only you will know the answer to, make sure you do. Make sure you also enable wireless encryption which will stop strangers from seeing your network – you can then restrict access.
Safe Social Networking – firstly check the age rating of the social networks that your kids want to subscribe to – many have a minimum age limit of 13 years. It is easy when prompted to enter personal details to do so, but teach the your family not to use their full names, address, birthdays on any profile – this is providing potential secure data to predators and hackers. It is also wise not to post photos of identifiable pictures of your home or car or shout about going on holiday and leaving the house unattended – all can pose risks.
Parental Controls – we all like to trust our kids, but with the murky world of online, it is better to put some precautions in place. There are many parental control tools available on the market, use them for blocking access at home to inappropriate websites that you wouldn’t want your kids to see – you can usually select the categories of content you wish to block. You’re not spying on your kids online just protecting them from exposure to indecent material. A great tool we recommend is the App ‘CleanBrowsing’ that offers a free level of child safe VPN protection on your children’s phones – simply download and install the App (iPhone App or Android App) and your child’s phone is protected from accessing inappropriate material.
Blogging – this is becoming more and more popular amongst the younger generation and it can be really positive and great for kids to do, good for learning, expressing themselves and interacting. However, it is wise to spend some time with them to explain that keeping their posts generic is better than posting lots of very personal content that can easily identify them – this can make them easy targets for predators or stalkers. Obviously make sure access to their blog is password protected and kept private and check in on it from time to time.
Online Gaming – kids love the concept of live gaming, they can interact with friends and get involved with leagues and competitions. Great fun but it can expose them to bullying, online predators and even harassment. Get them not to reveal their real identify when playing with strangers, easy to use a nickname or even an avatar. It’s good to check in and see who they are playing, just to keep an eye on things. Many games consoles come with parental controls so make sure you use them.
Use Trusted Sources Only – when looking to download music, films, games, etc but they can come riddled with spyware or malware and other things that could compromise your online security. Consider making a list of trusted downloading resources that the whole family have access and make sure that they use it. Get the kids in the habit of checking with you first before they download anything.
Phishing Scams – cybercrooks are after your personal data – bank accounts numbers, credit card details, PIN’s, your birthday – all key information they want to enable them to commit fraud against you. They will try all different ways of getting access to this information by sending you emails. Messages, even commenting on your social media posts. Look out for unexpected messages – your bank accounts is about to close, lottery wins or prizes, donations and more. Look at how the message is written, does it look credible, what email has it come from – there will usually be something if you check that will alert you that it is a scam – don’t click on any links if you are unsure.
These are just a few ideas to help you keep you and your family safe online. When looking for online solutions, check out what is recommended and do your research.