Keeping Your Children Safe Online: Part I

Posted On September 24, 2008

Filed under family, life, parenting

Comments Dropped 6 responses

Based on a friends suggestion, I decided to write a two part series on keeping your children safe on-line.  I mentioned before that I am geek.  I like to use my powers for good.  One of the things that I get ask most is, “What do you recommend for keeping my kids safe when they are on the computer?”  And my answer is always the same, there is no easy answer.  It is more than just some net-nanny software.  There are several things involved.  I am going to put them in order of what I think it most important to less important.

1.  Talk to your children!!!! – You can install all the software that you want.  You can buy fancy programs that will e-mail you when they do anything on-line.  You can even install some really fancy software that will monitor everything that they do from typing to mouse-clicks and what web pages they visit.  This will not keep them safe.  Talk to you kids about the dangers.  “Stranger Danger” is just as important on-line as it is in person.  Explain that just because someone says they are “12 m CA” (12 years old male from California), they may not be.  People have reasons to lie that may not be evil.  Maybe they just think that being from California is cool but they are really from Rhode Island.  Encourage caution and set specific rules.  The first and most important rule should be, NEVER EVER give out personal information, including phone numbers and addresses but also where you go to school.

2. Keyloggers are a parents best friend.  – No, I am serious.  Install one on your child’s computer today!  Stop, reading and go install it already…  Keyloggers are not spying, its responsible parenting.  I am not saying log your child’s activities and read them every night.  I am saying, keep the records and if you ever get that feeling like something is wrong, use the info.  I am sure we have all heard a story about young children getting lured out of their home by an on-line predator.  If you don’t keep a log of what they talk about it, how will anyone know where they could have gone.  Even if your computer is out in the open where everyone can see what is going on, it doesn’t mean you know what is being said.

3. Anti-virus and Anti-spyware should be installed and up to date at all times.  – There is some excellent free for home use ones out there.  Do not assume that if your computer is running fine that you don’t need these tools.  There are viruses and spy-ware out there that can spy on your computer and see how it is used.  This will not only compromise your on-line bank account but your child’s safety as well.  Viruses can do some much today.  There are even ones that can turn on your built in or external web-cam and allow the virus creator to watch you through web-cam images.  Please install this today, if it is not already installed on your system.

 

In the next segment, I will talk about parental controls and content filtering.  It is easier than you think and can be implemented at little to no cost to you.

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6 Responses to “Keeping Your Children Safe Online: Part I”

  1. Sprite's Keeper

    I am totally keeping Sprite away from the computer, dad being a geek or not, I just don’t want to deal with it! Thanks for this though. Very helpful! Using your powers for good!

  2. Casey

    Keyloggers are awesome. When I worked at a high school, I realized just how clueless parents are since their kids all had MySpace pages with pictures of underage drinking, drug use and half naked pictures of themselves. I thought about working with the principal to do some sort of internet safety program for parents but never got around to it. Kids these days are way smarter than their parents when it comes to technology, it’s scary. Thanks for the post, great idea!

  3. Amy

    This is great, I am looking forward to your next part. I am going to check out the Keyloggers right now. For what it is my worth one of the safety features that we use as a family is to have the computer in our main living area. This way I can be monitoring all the time! And I do indeed ask questions all the time. Thanks for the information, it is a scary world sometimes!

  4. Tricia

    The threat to kids from online predators is very real, and it’s such a good idea for parents to be sharing information and encouraging dialog. Thanks for this.

  5. Tricia

    I forgot to say that I’ve heard really good things about an episode Oprah recently did regarding this very topic, and I think the video is available online. I’ve not had a chance to check it out yet, but want to.

  6. DeeMarie

    I don’t have kids but I’m definitely going to pass this on to my friends who do!!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful geeky knowledge!!

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