Children can get a wealth of useful information from the internet, and have lots of fun as well.
However, the internet often contains material that is either unsuitable or illegal for children to access.
Below are a few simple tips to follow, and resources you can use, to make sure your internet browsing experiences are as safe as possible.
Help your children have a positive online experience
Educate your kids about the risks associated with browsing the web.
Encourage family involvement, and make supervision of internet usage easier, by having the family computer in a common area of the home.
Other ways that could help protect your children online include:
Not giving out personal information to anyone online, including giving out their email address or any passwords.
Involving you when they want to meet anyone who they have only met online.
Not filling in forms or agreeing to any contracts, agreements or downloads of any kind without your involvement.
Not opening emails from addresses they don’t recognise. By responding, the email address will be verified to the sender as a valid email address and this can lead to further unsolicited emails being sent.
Have a conversation with your kids. Here’s some topics to start a conversation:
– Find out what sites they like to visit, and what they enjoy doing online.
– Ask them how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
– Do they know where to go for help, where to find safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
– Encourage them to help you. Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
– What could you do to get more out of the internet as a family and further enjoy your experience online?
Social Networking websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be used by people to share photos, videos and personal messages.As the popularity of these grows, so do the risks associated with using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals follow the traffic.
The following tips can be followed to help protect you and your family when you use social networks.
Use caution when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social website. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in e-mail messages.
Know what you’ve posted about yourself. A common way that hackers break into financial or other accounts is by clicking the “Forgot your password?” link on the account login page. To break into your account, they search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, hometown, high school class, father’s middle name, on your social networking site. If the site allows, make up your own password questions, and don’t draw them from material anyone could find with a quick search.
Don’t trust that a message really is from whom it says it’s from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they’re from your friends, but aren’t. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks.
To avoid giving away e-mail addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your e-mail address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your e-mail address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send e-mail messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you’ve ever sent an e-mail message to with that e-mail address. Social networking sites should explain that they’re going to do this, but some do not.
Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through e-mail or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.
Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you. If you don’t know them in real life why be friend with them online?
Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer.
Be careful about installing extras on your site. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the Web.
Think twice before you use social networking sites at work. Most workplaces have policies regarding the use of social media and personal devices. If you are unsure it’s best to ask your manager or supervisor.
Take further steps with Internet Content Filtering software
Software is available to complement parental supervision of children’ online time. Internet content filters can automatically block access to unsuitable websites, chat rooms and newsgroups, as well as particular search engine results. Filters can block access to websites based on a list of banned sites (black list) or on a list of acceptable websites (white lists). They can operate on your home computer. Some filters can even help control the time your child spends online. But it’s important to remember that filters will never be foolproof, and are no substitute for parental supervision. Different filters may also categorise websites differently. Unlike film and video classifications, there are no set standards and the classifications may not reflect Australian cultural values.
You can use your web browser to limit Internet access, and filtering software is available from provider’s websites, computer shops and department stores.
Useful links for safe surfing
The following links also provide further information on safe web surfing and are a handy reference.