How can I help my children stay safe online?
First think about the possible dangers they face. These include the following:
- So-called ‘drive-by downloads’ (i.e. malicious programs that install on your computer automatically when you view a web page);
- The risk of infection through peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs that give others access to your computer;
- Unwanted advertising, including pop-ups and ad-ware programs: these are sometimes installed automatically with freeware programs that are available for download on the Internet;
- Sexually explicit (or other inappropriate) content;
- Being tricked into disclosing personal information (about them or you);
- Downloading pirated material (e.g. music or video files);
- Being targeted by online bullies;
- Being approached (in Internet chat rooms, for example) by pedophiles.
What steps can I take to protect my children?
Children can be just as vulnerable online as they are in the real world and it’s important that you understand the potential dangers. There are things you can do to minimize the chance of them being exposed to these dangers.
To protect your children online:
Talk to them about the potential dangers;
Keep the computer in a family room;
Encourage your children to talk to you about their online experience;
Provide them with guidelines for online activity;
Use your programs' settings to restrict content that your children can access online;
Follow the advice above on how to protect from malicious code and hacker attacks;