KIDS' BLOG CLUB
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Top tips for staying safe online

When you’re blogging or just using the internet it’s very important to understand what you need to do to stay safe and protect your real life privacy.

We’re going to be looking at this in more detail, but first here’s a post from Andrew Wild, chief security officer of cybersecurity company Qualys. These are Andrew’s top tips for parents to share with their children and help keep them safe online.

1.       It all starts with a password – It’s not just parents who need passwords for using the internet– children will use passwords to access school learning platforms, social network sites, and email, to name just a few.  A strong password should be over eight characters long, and ideally contain a mixture of upper case and lower case letters, with a number or symbol. For younger children, parents should help them to remember their passwords by creating memorable phrases, and keeping them in a safe place.  Password management tools are another way to keep track of the many passwords required.  Don’t forget to ensure that passwords are used on mobile devices too, to ensure that others cannot access your children’s device and/or information.

2.       Passwords should not be shared – Your children should understand that passwords should not be shared with their friends.  While parents have a legitimate reason to know their children’s passwords, other people do not.  Sharing passwords with friends is not a measure of trust, it’s just plain dumb.

3.       Keep your browser in check – Your browser is your gateway to the internet, and the first point of defence. Make sure you have the latest version of your browser downloaded onto your computer: This will contain the latest updates to help protect your computer. Qualys has a free BrowserCheck tool (https://browsercheck.qualys.com/) which automatically scans your internet browser to check for all security issues, and offer recommendations on how to fix them

4.       Connect Smart –  Be careful about using “free” Internet access in public places.  Many children use wireless enabled smartphones, tablets, or laptops whether they borrow it from a big brother or sister, mum or dad, or perhaps when they are given their own.  It’s important to teach them about the risks of accessing Wifi from public places, which is an easy way for hackers to access personal information

5.       Browse securely – Most of us use a web browser for email, social networking sites, and even banking/financial management .  Ensure that your child understands so use secure HTTP (HTTPS) when using a web browser to access any kind of personal information.  Most browsers indicate the use of HTTPS with a padlock on the address bar.  Using unsecure HTTP puts the security of your information at risk.

6.       Be cautious with online communications and postings – We have all taught our children to be wary of strangers in the physical world; they should be equally as cautious in the cyber world. Don’t share specific details about their physical location and be careful about accepting requests for online connections (“friending”, linking etc).

7.       Attachments – Let your child know that they should only open an attached document to an email from someone they trust, such as a teacher, friend or family member

8.       Downloads from the internet – Often, malware (viruses, spyware and ‘worms’) is hidden in files that you may download from the Internet.  Tell your child not to download games, photos, or files from websites without checking with an adult first

9.       Malicious links on social media sites – Don’t open weblinks sent to you on social media sites like Twitter or sent to you on email by someone you don’t know.

10.    Congratulations! You are our millionth visitor! Whilst it may be tempting, be sure that your child knows that not everything on the Internet is true, and more often than not adverts with false competition claims will lead the visitor to download risky malware

11.    Bluetooth – If your children are using Bluetooth activated devices, there is a risk of someone intercepting their information, or that they may receive unsolicited files. Always switch your child’s Bluetooth device to “undiscoverable”

12.    You’ve got mail – It’s not just your email which will receive spam. Those annoying text messages, tweets with malicious links all count as spam. Encourage your children to delete texts and emails automatically when they don’t know who they are from, and don’t ever reply!

13.    Install an Ad Blocker onto the browsers your child will be using – Browser applications such as Ad Blocker Plus can eliminate malicious popups, and can also prevent your child seeing adverts for content that is not aimed at them – adult sites, gambling, alcohol etc.

14.    Update quickly and often – Ensure that your children understand to update their software frequently.  Most devices, operating systems and applications are moving toward auto update functionality, but sometimes it still requires manual action.

What help is out there?  There are plenty of free and low cost tools that you can use to help you and your children stay safe online

·         BrowserCheck –Free and easy to use tool to check your internet browser

·         Internet filters – Put these on all devices that children access – tablets, smartphones and PCs

·         Anti-virus protection – there are many free and low cost options available to help protect your computer and devices.

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9 Comments to “Top tips for staying safe online”

  1. dwi syracuse says:

    Hi there! I understand this is sort of off-topic
    but I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work?
    I’m brand new to running a blog however I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a
    blog so I can share my personal experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

  2. Joanne says:

    It really takes as long as you want it to take, but it probably won’t happen overnight as it takes time to build an audience. Blog as regularly as you can so there is something new for people to read – at least once a week if you can. Read up on SEO (search engine optimisation) so you have an idea of how to write posts that show up well in Google. But above all enjoy it – the successful blog is one that you want to continue writing!

    Good luck!

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  8. Tyler Flood says:

    I’d say these tips are not only for kids but for everyone. I hear so many people unaware of Ad Blocker!

  9. Cannon Law says:

    What about WiFi? There are many hack done with a not same WiFi spot – any tips on that?

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