Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Web?

“My Google, what big lies you have. All the better to trick you with.” This might very well become the line from a bedtime story that you tell your kids. Children tend to be more tech savvy than most adults, but they are also more vulnerable. They might know how a game is played or how a particular app works, but they are ignorant to the risks involved.

There are many different ways to protect your child online. It is important to communicate with your children and to enforce rules and restrictions.

Here are 10 tips from Panda on how to protect your children.  

  • Install strong security software on your computer – Panda’s 2015 consumer range, boasts the new XMT Smart Engineering engine providing complete protection with minimal performance impact. These products harness protection capabilities against viruses, malware, hackers and Wi-Fi intrusions. 
  • Monitor your children’s activity on the web – the 2015 range includes an advanced parental control feature that allows parents to monitor their children’s activities online. The dashboard provides a summary of the most visited Web pages and categories, and a detailed report of all pages accessed (page, category, date/time). The Parental Control technology is fully browser-independent, so deleting the browser history or using other browsers won’t affect the monitoring feature.
  • Teach your children about social media and the risk involved – Social media and online communication is a huge factor in the lives of youngsters today. Talk to your children about the content they post to social media sites; such as photos, statuses or personal information. Make sure that the privacy settings are set up correctly, so that their content and information is not visible to the public. Make them aware of the dangers involved in talking to and sharing information with people online.

  • Block websites – the parental control feature in Panda’s 2015 range also lets users block web pages with inappropriate content based on different content categories and blacklists
  • Teach your kids about not opening mails or messages from unknown sources – Children are unaware of malware and adware. Explain the risks involved and teach your children about the various types of malware and adware that you get.
  • Assign a computer in your household just for your children – if you have more than one computer in your household dedicate one of these machines as the children’s’ computer. This avoids any possible data loss or damage to your machine and keeping the “family” computer in an open area allows you to monitor what your kids are doing. Allocate user accounts if you have more than one child. This teaches them the importance of taking care of their own accounts and you are able to monitor what each child does.
  • Allocate times during which children may use the internet – limit how much time your kids can spend on the computer, including what days and times they can be online.
  • Don’t allow kids to fill out online forms or surveys if there is a legitimate site that they want to register for, have them come to you first, so that you can review the site’s privacy policy and rules of conduct.
  • Set up child-safe browsers – If you have set up a separate computer for your children or allocated users accounts for them, then you are able to set the default browser to a child-safe browser. Child-oriented search engines perform limited searches and screen search results, protecting your child from harmful content.
  • Make sure children understand the risks in downloading – Kids download games, music, videos and movies – often from the wrong sites. Teach your children about authentication and using the correct sites to avoid downloading harmful material. Programs and apps must be download from vendor sites to avoid any malware or PUPs.

Weighing the risks and benefits of a child’s internet access is a difficult task. For most parents, child safety is a high priority. Parental software can assist in this safety quest, but software alone will never be enough and parents need to teach their children the importance of internet/cyber safety.

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