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Computer Safety: Six Tips for Teaching Your Kids to be Safe Online

Teaching kids to be safe while using the Internet is absolutely essential in today’s world. There are several things we can do as parents to keep our kids safe online, like keeping a clean machine with the latest and greatest operating system and anti-virus protection, but we also need to keep the lines of communication open with our children and make sure they know some safety tips when it comes to online activity. We can’t always be there to protect our kids, but we can and should arm them with information so they can make safe and appropriate decisions on their own. Below are six good online safety tips for kids.

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Keep Passwords Private

When creating passwords, make them long and include upper and lower case letters, numbers and even symbols in order to make them more secure. Teach your kids to keep their passwords private and, if they write the passwords down, don’t keep them stored in their phone, backpack, or computer as they are too readily accessible in these common places. Teach your child to change the password if it has been compromised. Tell your child not to include any password information in an email to anyone, and to refrain from using passwords on public computers or any other computer that does not belong to the family.

Practice Safe Social Networking

All people have access to public websites, even ones designed for children. Teach your children not to click on suspicious links in posts or tweets and to avoid clicking on online ads as these could pose a threat in the way of viruses, identity theft or even child predators. Tell them never to give anyone even a tiny bit of personal information, such as their full name, address, school, city, or any other information that someone could use to locate him or her.

Practice Safe Blogging

If your child blogs, teach him or her to never reveal his or her full name, location, or anything else that could allow someone to locate him or her. Teach your child to be careful when posting pictures. In fact, depending on the age of your child, you may consider having a family rule about posting photos online. Remember online predators often target children and teens who seem vulnerable, so teach your child to be careful with discussing feelings and emotions in detail.

Avoid Online Fraud

Children and teens make good targets for online identity thieves because they often have good credit and low debt. They are also more trusting and less careful than adults. Teach your child never to share personal information and only use secure sites for online shopping. Encourage your child or teen to do his or her online shopping at home.

Computer Ink and Cartridges

Especially if your child uses the computer and printer more than you do, teach him or her how to change the cartridge ink and paper. Teach your child to be careful with the printer, since it can be a delicate piece of equipment. While your child may not know the ins and outs of the computer, knowing how to run the printer can give him a feeling of ownership and responsibility, also helping him use the equipment more safely.

Be Aware of Spam and Phishing

Cyber criminals are very smart when it comes to tricking young people to click on a link or provide personal information via fake emails that seemingly come from legitimate companies. Remind your child not to provide any personal information through email, even if it seems legitimate and says things like “respond immediately.” Teach your child about online scams to help him or her understand the risks with sharinf too much personal information.

By Kandace Heller

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