Your children's digital life: How to keep them safe online

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 Your children's digital life: How to keep them safe online

Your children's digital life: How to keep them safe online
Your children's digital life: How to keep them safe online

Today, whether at home or school, on a PC, video game console or cell phone – your children have their own digital lives. With this come privacy and security risks. As parents, you can keep your children safe and your digital lives safe by being careful, educating, and setting boundaries when necessary. With this special focus, the JustAskGemalto team put together some effective tips to keep your kids safe in the online world.

Area One: Social Media

It is safe for your children to use social media as long as you monitor their use. There are parental controls you can set, permissions to grant, and filters to apply in Windows and your Internet browser. If you open the Internet browser, go to the Help tab. Type “Content Supervisor” into the search box and you will find the feature: “Help your kids browse the Internet more safely”. To make specific changes and control internet usage, there is a helpful “Block or allow specific websites” link.

When it comes to talking to your kids about the risks of social media, the old saying “better safe than sorry” couldn't be more appropriate. Information on the Internet can be shared widely and very quickly, making it nearly impossible to retrieve or change it once it has been shared. Here are the risks that should be discussed with your children when using social media:

• Sharing a lot of personal information. This includes cell phone number, address, hometown, school name, and your own full names. Younger children's profiles should be set to “private”.

• Share passwords with anyone but you. Explain that this allows anyone to “impersonate them” online. Someone can fool a kid with “Hey, did you know that if you type in your password it will show up as asterisks?” We don't even need to say that this is not true.

• Impulsive posting. Photos and comments stay online forever. Think before posting.

If someone downloads your files, they will eventually have them. Or, if Google or other search engines find them, they'll keep a copy of the original content, even if it's already been removed. To see this, do a Google search by typing “cache”. Tell your kids that some college admissions boards and employers check social networking sites before admitting students or hiring people.

Children need to know the details of how to protect themselves on social networking sites. A Harris/McAfee survey found that 87% of teens are online, whether from a computer or mobile device, outside of their home. And they're not just accessing the websites from their Macs or PCs, but from smartphones and gaming devices as well. Here are some rules to follow: There are familiar social networking sites that offer various social media components, including connections with “friends” to share content, comments, and photos. Look for sites that are set up to prioritize security, sites where kids can't share personal information. Typically, software downloading and installation is required for the application to run, and some sites even require you to register and sometimes

Area Two: Games

Internet gaming can be a safe and enjoyable online activity, but to keep every PC in your home safe, here are some tips. A multiplayer game sometimes requires an exception to the firewall rule to allow information to reach your computer. However, whenever you accept more permissive security settings on your firewall, you increase the chance of getting a virus or malicious program. So make sure you're comfortable with the company that makes the game before agreeing to make an exception. A more cautious option: Your firewall may allow you to designate specific IP addresses of gaming friends as “trusted” to reduce the possibility of a malicious program infecting your computer.

You can check if a game is age-appropriate by checking its rating. Video games are given age ratings by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) depending on the content. The ratings are as follows:

C – Childhood: 3 years +

E – Children: Age 6+

E10+ – Children: Age 10+

T - Teenager: Age 13+

M – Mature 17+: Age 17+

A – Adults 18+: Over 18 years old

Games are age-rated based on the type of content they contain, such as violence, language, blood, sex, drug use, and gambling. Most video game stores will verify age before selling a game to a child, but parental supervision during purchase is recommended.

Area Three: Music Download

When it comes to downloading music, it's important to teach your children the safe and legal practices of downloading music. Here are some great tips to share with them:

1. Teach them the word “copyright”. Downloading and/or sharing copyrighted music without the consent of the copyright owner is illegal. Warn your children that the federal government takes illegal media downloading very seriously, criminal penalties can be up to five years in prison and/or some fine.

2. Tell them the good news: there are many cool sites where you can pay for and download music. It is up to you to decide whether you want your children to use these sites. Here are some of them:

     iTunes

     Amazon MP3

     Yahoo! Song

     AOL Music

3. Make music download fun and interactive. Many of the cool sites allow you and your kids to create and maintain playlists, review songs, listen to top-played songs in a variety of categories, and much more. It's a great opportunity for you to explore different types of music with your kids.

Remember to read some of our music and file sharing tips: How does file and music sharing work? Is it legal to share music and movie files?

Area Four: Shopping

Today, kids are shopping online more than ever before. This gives parents the opportunity to teach their children to be enlightened and cautious when shopping online. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Show your kids how to find out if an online retailer is legit. A great resource is Buscapé.com.br, where more than 495 thousand consumers analyzed more than 25 thousand online stores.

2. Browse with them and show them how they can find out about the shipping and return policy of e-commerce sites. It is always best to shop at established websites that have clearly defined policies.

3. Teach your kids to be bargain hunters. Researching a variety of established online stores and comparing prices is a great way to get a good deal. Your kids can have fun with the research, but when it comes time to buy, you have to do the transaction yourself.

4. Let them create wish lists to save you the guesswork when shopping for gifts. Many retail sites have this feature. This allows your kids to experience online shopping and choose products, without actually making any transactions.

5. Finally, use JustAskGemalto's other resources on online shopping and internet safety to illustrate best practices for your children:

If I have a secure connection to a website, does that mean I can trust it?

     Is the Internet safe?

     What is the safest way to make payments online?

     How can I protect myself against fraudulent use of my credit card on the Internet?

     How do I know if it's safe to enter my credit card information when shopping online?

     What is PayPal?

Area Five: Cyber ​​Bullies

Cyber ​​bullies humiliate, frighten and/or harm their victims. They are empowered by the anonymity of the Internet as they do not have to face their victim face to face. Cyber ​​lawyer and bullying expert Parry Aftab describes four types of bullies:

1. The “Vengeful Angel” cyber bully often gets involved trying to protect a friend who is being bullied in real or virtual life

2. The “Power-Hungry” and “Revenge of the Nerds” are so named, for their technical skills, these bullies want to exercise their authority and show that they are powerful enough to force others to do what they want, some exercise control through fear

3. The “Mean Girls”-style Cyber ​​Bully seeks entertainment to inflate egos. It can take place in a school library or a sleepover, or in someone's living room after school. This type of cyber bullying requires an audience and stops if you don't get one.

4. Inadvertent cyber bullying occurs when children are playing online games and post or post an abusive comment about someone without understanding how serious it can be. They do it because they think they have the right to do it or for fun.

Education is the most effective tool to help your children deal with cyber bullying.

• Understanding the reasons can stop bullying. Start by teaching them to recognize the four profiles of cyber bullies and their motives (see also “What is cyber bullying and who are bullies?”).

• Ask your child about incidents of bullying at their school to see what they know about it.

• Listen and be on the lookout for signs that your child may be being abused. Take immediate action by talking to your child's guidance counselor or teacher. It is also important to stand up to the bully who practices bullying.

• Support partnerships between parents, teachers and school administrators to teach prevention with awareness campaigns.

Need help? There are organizations dedicated to helping you and your children with cyber bullying. One organization that works to reduce bullying in schools is the CSEE (Center for Social and Emotional Education) in New York. It is part of Columbia University's Teachers College and its mission is to improve the climate for learning in schools. They teach students and adults how to deal with bullying by helping others who have been abused, preventing the spread of false or harmful messages, making friends with people outside of current circles and with new students.

 

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