Living with the internet: Keeping it safe
Living with the internet: Keeping it safe

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Living with the internet: Keeping it safe

13 How do you protect children online?

There is a lot of information available on how to protect younger members of the household, but quite often children know more than their parents and are able to bypass the protection that parents might have installed.

You may view the computer as a major source of information, help, shopping, news, etc. Children like to use it for entertainment, downloading music, accessing chat rooms, playing games (and sometimes even homework). So when considering children's protection the Internet has to be viewed from their perspective.

The Internet is not just an information source. It can be used by paedophiles, by those interested in online sex, politics or gambling, for spreading malicious software, and something that's often overlooked when considering children's use of the computer – bullying.

Putting it all together

This topic has given an overview of some of the less desirable aspects of life on the Internet. We have shown how you can reduce the chance of being a victim of people who are trying to intrude on your life via the Net.

Consider the computer as another door into your home. You need to ensure that the door is locked and that only those with the key can obtain entry.

You are near the end of this topic. Before finishing, make a short 'bullet point' list of 'Safe Computing at Home' that you can stick by your computer. This will remind all the users to be careful.


Safe computing

Below is my list to compare with yours. Yours may look different but should cover the same points.

Golden rules for children

  • Be wary – people may not be who they claim to be.

    If you are not happy, turn off the computer.

  • Do not give out personal information.

    This can be used to make it look like a friend online rather than a stranger.

  • Do not give out information about your friends or anyone else.

    This can be used against you and upset your friends.

  • Be cautious about meeting people face to face.

    Always take an adult with you if you are meeting someone you talk to on the Internet or any person you have not met before.

  • YOU are in control.

    Let people know if you are uncomfortable with anything.

Rules for parents

  • Use Internet security software – antivirus software, firewalls etc.

  • Use the computer's controls to offer security for each person – for example, cookie controls.

  • Check out the services that your ISP can offer to help protect you and your family.

    Many ISPs offer settins on accounts that control the content that can be accessed when online.

  • Keep the computer in a communal area of the house so that everyone can see what is going on.

    This way everyone can see what is going on.

  • Do not give out personal details.

    Protecting your identity can also stop people fooling others into believing that they know you.

  • Only use moderated chat rooms.

    Thes chat rooms have people monitoring the content and users, and offer some protection from people who claim to what they are not.

  • Talk to your children about their online use.

    Talking about and understanding the use of a computer can increase security.

  • Write your own 'Family Code' of acceptable Internet use.

    Include the childred so you can all agree on how the computer will be used.

  • Surf together!

    That way you know where you are all surfing.

  • The key to safe surfing is communications.

    Secrecy in the family can be the worst form of security.


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