A recent IDA survey found that nine out of ten children between the ages of 10 and 15 surf the internet. While 27 per cent share personal data in social networking sites, over a third of these respondents said they enjoy chatting online, and over 42 per cent send instant messages.
The online world is surely a fascinating place for children where they can learn a lot about different countries, animals, the solar system and everything else under the sun. But children could also inadvertently access sites that contain inappropriate material, such as pornography, racism or depictions of violence, which is a source of concern for parents.
With your child using your PC, you are presented with various kind of security threats – not only do you have to keep your kids safe, but you also have to protect the data on your computer.
Children are soft targets and more likely to fall prey to strangers posing as someone who they would like to meet and interact with. Hence, parents need to be aware and informed about the potential threats on the World Wide Web and educate their kids of the security threats online.
Malicious spyware and viruses which cripple our computer systems can be unwittingly downloaded when children go online, and may also infiltrate your computer to steal sensitive data such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Below are some steps which you can follow to reduce these online threats.
1. Define the role of your PC in your child’s life. You should discuss and set guidelines for computer use with your children. To reiterate these rules post them by the computer as a reminder.
2. Keeping your PC in the line of your sight. You should keep the computer in a common room in the house and never in the children’s bedroom. If possible, you should also be aware of the other computers your child may be using.
3. Make your browser your kid’s guardian online. Internet Explorer 8 allows you to restrict or allow certain web sites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find those options, click Tools on your menu bar, select Internet Options, choose the Content tab, and click the Enable button under Content Advisor.
4. Know where your child is…online. You need to use the Internet with your children. Familiarize yourself with your children’s online activities and maintain a dialogue with your child about how they are using the internet and for what purposes. You can also get feedback through Microsoft Parental Control on how your children have been using the computer, you can refer to activity reports which monitor the programs accessed and files downloaded, as well as the time spent on each activity.
5. Secure your PC by securing your kid’s online experience. To ensure that your PC is secured when your child spends time online, you can download/ use IE8 which has a feature named SmartScreen Filter. The feature will caution children by turning the address bar to red, if the website contains malware and prompting them to take an alternative action.
6. Choose the correct sites for your kid. Microsoft Parental Controls allows parents to configure access to selected applications and reduces the risk of kids downloading dubious programs. Parents can specify the websites children can or cannot access. This feature can also filter websites based on their content, so that you can keep kids away from mature content websites or from inappropriate topics like weapons, bomb making and hate messages.
7. Games are fun, but you decide! Kids today have access to a lot of violent & sexually explicit games at a very young age. With Microsoft Parental Controls, you can also limit the type of games your children are allowed to play. This feature enables parents to customize access for different user accounts, which come in handy if the family PC is shared by, say, your 14-year old and your 7-year-old.
8. Teach the basics – Don’t speak to Strangers. Teach your children never to give out personal information to people they meet online such as in chat rooms or bulletin boards. Educate them about keeping a user name that does not reveal too much personal information like his/her name, gender, age, or hometown.
9. Say no to Spam. Teach them not to click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers or emails they are not expecting.
10. Your PC, Your Nanny. If you have trouble keeping your kids from spending excessive amounts of time on the PC, you can use Microsoft Parental Control to schedule specific days and times the kids can play on the family PC. Yes, your PC becomes the home monitor when you are not at home! Once parents have activated time control, reminders will pop-up during usage and then the session will be suspended upon the specified time. Not to worry, the data which the children were working on will remain active and accessible the next time they log-on.
The key is to teach your child the responsible use of the resources online. One needs to remember that no program is a substitute for parental supervision.
[Thanks To Microsoft Consumer & Online For All The Information]