How to keep your kids and teens safe online

Sharing with you some tips on how you can keep your kids and teens safe online...

According to statistics, 86% of 7-11 year olds and 96% of 11-19 year olds are communicating online. To help make sure that your kids are safe in the online world, information and knowledge is key.

Here are the top 10 tips taken from a Sophos article. Discuss them to your kids and explain to them why it is important to abide by these guidelines.

1. Lock down your Facebook page. Make sure your profile is only shown to your friends – not to friends of friends and certainly not to the public (the whole world)! It’s good to check your privacy settings regularly, too, because FV often updates them.

2. On Friend requests: If you don’t know the person sending the friend request, do not accept them.

3. If a thing is private to you, don’t share it on any social media form! Don’t post anything anywhere on the internet if you don’t want the world to see it. Once you’ve uploaded something, you cannot be sure that it will stay with just the person you’ve sent it to.

4. Never give out your address and never agree to meet in person someone you’ve met online. Ask your parents first.

5. Make sure you password protect your phone or any other device you use. And lock it when you’re not using it.

6. Don’t click on suspicious-looking links. If something looks strange to you, ask a parent or teacher if it’s ok to click on it.

7. If your friend has sent you a message but it looks weird, or isn’t something they’d usually say, check with them before you open it. It could be that someone is using their account to send messages which could be infected with something nasty.

8. Always log out! Make sure you don’t leave any account open when you go away from your computer, phone or other device.

9. Follow these password rules:

  • Never choose passwords which are real words you’d find in the dictionary. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, swap out letters for numbers, and use symbols like % and $ too.
  •  Make your password as long as possible. The longer it is, the harder it is to crack.
  • Be creative! Never just use the name of your favourite sports team or band, or your pet’s name. They are too easy to guess, especially if you’re previously shared that information online.
  • Use a different password for each website you use. If you struggle to remember them, you can use online ‘password management’ software to save them for you. But remember to make your ‘master’ password VERY hard to crack!
  • Don’t save your password to your computer if you share it with anyone. And never give anyone your password. Not even your best friend. It’s not silly to keep your password to yourself, it’s safe!

10. And finally, if it doesn’t look right, speak up! If you think something is suspicious or if you see something upsetting online, tell a parent or teacher, or report it to the website you’re trying to use.

Help your kids be responsible online, for their safety and for your peace of mind!  Always think before you click! J

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