My last blog focused on some general guidelines to protect our children online, here are some quick, concrete tips to keep them safe:
-- Make sure usernames/screen names/email addresses do not have any personally identifiable information
Stay away from initials, birthdates, hobbies, towns, graduation year, etc.
The smallest piece of identifiable information could lead a predator to you - remember they are highly motivated
--Don't link screen names to email addresses - if a child gets an email they tend to think it is okay, it's not. Reiterate that if they don't actually know the person, they are a stranger, regardless of how they contact them.
--Set up their buddy/friends list and regularly update and check them to ensure your kids are only interacting with people they actually know; this goes for their phone too.
--Don't post personal information - don't respond to requests from people OR companies
eMarketer found that 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services
--Keep the computer in a public part of the house
--Consider limiting the amount of time they can spend on their phone, iPod, iPad, computer, etc. to whatever you deem as reasonable.
--Regularly check their online surfing history - know exactly where they are going and talk to them about it, so they know you know.
--Use filtering software to prevent access from things you know are bad. Note: only 1/3 of households are using blocking or filtering software.
--Protect your computing resources
Use parental controls - check out Norton's family plan as an example of tools you can consider installing
Here's a list from InformationWeek on security technologies (protection from viruses, bots, Trojans and other malware) you might want to consider
Note be sure to use software from a reputable source, otherwise you may be unwittingly downloading malware that can do more harm than good
Make sure it offers a wide range of protection - different attacks use different methods to infiltrate your computer and you want full coverage
--Follow good rules of thumb
Don't open anything (emails or attachments) from anyone you don't know
Don't open anything that looks a little too good to be true - it probably is
Make sure your email doesn't automatically open emails - check your settings