Boyish Charm

8 Things to Tell Your Kids Before They Go Online

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Eight things kids should know before they go online.

With all the tech innovations available, today’s parental admonitions need to include more than eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, and don’t go with strangers! Add these eight things kids should know before they go online. Issues of cyber safety are real but there are ways to benefit from the great technology conveniences and keep our kids safe. Thanks for the reminder Trend Micro, and thanks for sponsoring this post.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

When Sam was younger, cyber safety wasn’t an issue because he was always by my side, using my devices. Now he has his own chrome book for school, an iPad for math class, and he loves making and editing his own flicks in iMovie. Plus, all Sam’s “television” viewing is online.

I want Sam to be armed with tools and knowledge so he can make good choices and stay safe. Fortunately, from little guys using game apps to tweens/teens reveling in social media, there are guidelines that keep them and their (your) devices safer while they have fun with the technology.

GETTING STARTED

As with any parenting topic, communication counts. It’s important to talk with kids about cybersecurity, plus the how and why of safely using the advantages of technology.

One big topic is the value of privacy. With the popularity of reality shows, many kids think everything is for public consumption. As any parent realizes, it’s not! Discuss your personal comfort level and explain why it’s not safe to overshare online.

Be sure to use effective security software, too. That’s where Trend Micro protection comes in. More on than in a moment.

And a tip to get you started when you’re creating new user accounts on your devices—regulate computer settings through the admin account. This makes it more difficult for tech-savvy kids to dodge the parental controls you’ll want to set up.

So here are some of the basics…

Keep Kids Safe Online

PASSWORDS

  • Use strong passwords—and protect them.
  • Longer passwords are best and they should not include a login name, personal info, common words, or adjacent keys on the keyboard.
  • Do not share passwords with friends. Not even “best” friends.

SAFETY FIRST

  • Never share your name (a user name is a fun way to express that alter-ego), address, school name, cell/telephone number, or any other personal information. Use discretion in posting pictures, too.
  • Never agree to meet with a “friend” met online. Predators often pose as someone else.

APPS

So many apps, so little time!

It’s best to stick with apps from companies you’re familiar with, or at least do some research before you download them because false apps open the door to cybercriminals and the potential of having personal information stolen.

Be sure to use web filters. Sometimes downloading can give the app developers access to personal info they don’t need to have. Always check the app’s privacy policy and settings to learn what the app can access.

New ring tones, fun games, and other downloads can hide malware. Don’t download anything unless it’s from a trusted source and you’ve scanned it with security software.

FILE SHARING

From music to games to software, there are lots of cool things to share.  To keep it safe:

  • Make sure file-sharing software has proper settings activated so nothing private is dished out.
  • Before a downloaded file is opened, scan it with security software.

ONLINE SEARCHES

Whether it’s for school or to satisfy curiosity, search engines open up the world. Sidestep malicious infections by:

  • Hovering over a link and making sure the URL matches with the URL you are going for.
  • Remember the first page of search results is usually the safest.

SOCIAL NETWORKS

Chat rooms, virtual worlds, and social networking sites are super ways to connect with friends. They are also spaces where cybercriminals hack or hang out with fake profiles. To navigate with confidence:

  • Never click on a link that seems suspicious, even if it is from an acquaintance.
  • If a friend seems to be acting/saying strange things online, personally talk with the friend to be sure their account hasn’t been hacked.
  • Go with your gut. If something doesn’t “feel” right, don’t go there.

PHISHING

Fake email, text, and pop-up messages from scammers can be a pain. To help curb identity theft:

  • Be cautious about opening attachments or unexpected files which may contain malware.
  • Don’t reply to messages that ask for personal information and don’t follow links in the message just to “check it out”.
  • Even ads can contain malware. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

TEXTING

Good manners matter. If you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, don’t say it online. Once it’s out there—it’s there. Also:

  • Don’t let curiosity kill the cat…ignore texts from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t bully (mean images and words directed at others) and don’t let others bully you. Tactics that help include ignore the bully and don’t forward what they send; intervene on the victim’s behalf; show your parents the evidence if bullying continues.
  • Don’t sext—consequences! Besides sullying a reputation, sending sexually explicit messages and pics can break the law.

Internet Security for Kids

The amount of information and entertainment that’s available online is amazing.  As any adult user knows, it’s easy to get lost in cyberspace! Balance electronic time with real-world, hands-on experiences and when it’s user time, especially for younger kids, consider keeping the computer in a high-traffic area where you can supervise their
activities.

Whether you’re concerned about keeping your kids safe on computers, iPads, or phones, Trend Micro has you covered. Trend Micro is a global leader in cyber security, keeping families safe and files protected.

Learn how to protect personal and business information—including photos and videos on all your devices—by checking out the new approach at Trend Micro.

In addition to letting kids explore safely while restricting their time and access, Trend Micro offers secure transactions, stops web threats, shields privacy, protects all devices, and optimizes performance.

It’s simple and effective.

If you’re like me, you want your kids to be armed with the tools and knowledge needed to cope in our modern society. You want them to thrive and stay safe while using technology-based devices. Trend Micro can help make it easier.

And one of our readers can win a $200 Amazon gift card and a trial of Trend Micro Maximum Security! The giveaway ends at 11:59pm on July 23. It’s open to the US and Canada only.

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Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.