Internet Safety for Families
If you want to take your parenting online, and we recommend that you do, the JustAskGemalto.com Team wants to help.
Parental guidance is essential in helping your family enjoy the benefits of the Internet and still stay safe at the same time.
To help get you ready to be a more aware cyber parent, we gathered up advice on some of the hottest family topics in online safety, from social media and gaming to cyber bullying.
Children, Parents and Internet Safety
Surveys indicate that worldwide nine out of 10 kids worldwide follow family rules for Internet usage and safety. Yet by their own admission, only one in three parents set controls and monitor their children’s online activities.
Parents also underestimate the time kids spend online by about half, research shows.
To become a better “cyber parent,” here are five things you can do right now:
- 1. Prepare yourself. Start by reading this article and all of our “Family” tagged tips. If you have older teens that are already well established on Facebook and other sites, check out our advice on Internet safety, privacy, social media and online shopping. And come back to JustAskGemalto.com often!
- 2. Start talking. Find out what your kids do online, and what they know about privacy and safety. Focus on teaching them basics—not to trust strangers, keep personal information private, what is inappropriate to post online and understanding how to set privacy controls.
- 3. Take an interest. Spend time online together at the sites they visit and draw your own conclusions. Just knowing that you are involved will help.
- 4. Start young. Try to get ahead of the curve. If they are older, treat them respectfully and honestly as you do with other important topics.
- 5. Develop age-appropriate rules. For older children, make sure your kids understand risks and how privacy protection works on the sites they use.
Children and Social Networking
Kids may not talk to strangers on the street, but they will online. Kids get approached often at social networking sites, and if asked for personal information or a photo, much of the time they provide it.
Help your children understand how to behave online, just as you do in the real world. Make sure your kids understand that nothing they post to Facebook or other social media sites, email or send over a mobile phone is truly private. This includes personal photos and comments about a teacher or someone they know.
Even a friend can send it on to others, perhaps inadvertently. For example, if they are not using privacy settings correctly or have authorised “friends of friends” to see their photos, your private photo may end up with someone who can use it abusively.
At the bottom of this article are several topics you should discuss with your kids about online social networking to help keep them safe.
Cyber bullying between kids or teens is the use of electronic communication—cell phones, emails or websites—to harass, humiliate, intimidate or even threaten others.
It is a global problem. In Australia for example, the education minister estimates that one in four children were targets of bullying and in 50 per cent of cases, the response by schools was ineffective.
Part of the problem is that sometimes kids join in and do not even realise they are part of the problem. A program in the UK—“Laugh at it, and you’re part of it”—is aimed directly at educating children to recognise cyber bullying and understand that it is no laughing matter.
As parents we make sure our children are neither victims nor bullies. Start by talking to your kids about cyber bullying. And keep the conversation going.
Here are some tips to give your kids and get your conversation started:
- 1. Keep personal information, inappropriate comments and private photos to yourself; cyber bullies trick victims, or the victim’s friends, into revealing personal or embarrassing information online and then sending it to others.
- 2. Never give passwords to anyone other than you, the parent; stealing passwords and sending cruel or untrue messages while posing as someone else is a favourite trick of cyber bullies.
- 3. If you see bullying, don’t laugh or join in.
- 4. If someone is trying to bully you online, the bravest and smartest thing you can do is to walk away from it and tell me.
Another step you can take is to talk to your teachers and school administrators.
Most countries have organisations and government programs to address this growing problem. Here are two examples:
- – Cyberbullying, an introduction from Directgov, the UK government’s digital service for people in England and Wales
- – A great general resource in Australia on cyber safety for children that includes cyber bullying and many other important topics
Gaming on Windows PCs
If you or your children are big online gamers, you should know the differences between your “administrator” account on your Windows PC, and your “limited user” accounts.
Gaming accounts are a big target for viruses and other attacks. If a virus or other malware (see: “What is spyware and malware?”) attacks through your online game and you are using your administrator account, the attacker could potentially gain full access to your computer.
Using a limited user account decreases the occurrence and impact of a virus or other malicious software, because the attacker/malware cannot make major changes to the computer.
When using our PCs there are two different modes in which we do our work and play games: “administrator” and “limited user” accounts, the differences being the level of programming control you have and the security protections. You can tell what mode you’re in by clicking on your start menu in the lower left corner of your screen. On the top, you will see a picture representing your account. Click on it and on the right you can see what type of account you have along with your name and picture.
For more information, Microsoft provides a user account demo that shows how user accounts work and how you can make changes. Windows 7 users can view Frequently Asked Questions about user accounts.
Children, Parents and the Internet
Want to hear advice from other parents about keeping kids safe online? Visit JustAskGemalto’s video channel on YouTube and see what our team members and other experts are doing at home with their own families.
Children and Social Networking
- – How do I protect my children’s personal information on social networking sites?
- – What social networking risks should I talk about with my children?
- – What’s a good way to get involved with my child’s online life?
- – How can I guide my children on using social networking sites safely?
- – What is cyber bullying and who are the bullies?
- – As a parent, how can I prepare my children to avoid cyber bullying?
- – What consequences do cyber bullies face?
Online Gaming (Links international site)
- – How can I keep my computer virus-free when my kids play games online?
- – How can I tell which video games are age appropriate for my children?
- – What safety practices does Microsoft recommend for kids and online games?
- – How can I limit my child’s game time in Microsoft Windows?
- – What family settings are available for Xbox LIVE?