Published by Blanca Carton, August 2010
The security of our children is a source of concern for us all. When you buy a new TV set or an oven… First you read the instructions, then you install it, and finally you tell your children it is not a toy to play with and explain to them how to use it or in some cases even warn them not to touch it.
What I mean with this example is that it is not worth having the best Internet security tool if it is not installed and updated correctly, or if you don’t let users (in this case, your children) know what they can or can’t do with it.
Remember that you can’t protect them against all Internet dangers, but you can certainly teach them how to protect themselves.
Sit down with them and tell them…
- You want them to enjoy the Internet and avoid any problems using it. The Internet is a place where you can find fun and interesting information, but it can also be dangerous. Tell them to ask you when in doubt.
- Friends are those people they meet at the school, at the park and when they are with their family. In the same way they wouldn’t trust a stranger they met on the street, they should be equally cautious on the Internet.
- If somebody asks them where they live, their phone number or wants them to send them their photos, or turn on their webcam or meet them… They must always say no and tell you about it.
- They must never accept messages from unknown senders and even from friends if they have not requested them first. Just opening those messages can trigger viruses that damage computers and try to steal information from them.
- Don’t insult, disturb or threaten anybody. There is always a way to know who posted a comment or photos on the Internet and they can be identified. These actions constitute a crime and won’t go unpunished even if performed from their computer at home.
- If someone insults, disturbs or threatens them, they should immediately report it to you so that that person is prevented from doing it again to them or anybody else.
- If, when searching for something on the Internet they come across inappropriate content they should let you know. They should not be ashamed or scared as it can happen to anybody.
- They should not believe that everything they see on the Internet or -on TV- is true.