You are living in a world that is increasingly reliant upon the internet, and your children are going to live in a world that is absolutely, unavoidably dependent on it. This means that learning is essential and you are the very best teacher they could possibly have before they run into some trouble on the internet without you knowing. In fact, without your knowledge, your children can put your home at risk online by posting information or other data about themselves.
Therefore, make sure that there is a culture of safety and sharing within your own home. To keep everyone safe, including yourself and your spouse, you are going to want to follow these helpful tips:
Teach Good Habits and Practices Early
It is much easier to start off using and remembering great passwords than it is to try and adjust the habit later. Set an example and sit down with your family for an afternoon just to show them the basics and what goes into a safe and secure computer.
Some of the things that you will want to talk about include what website might be bad, not talking to strangers on the internet, asking an adult if anything confuses them or if they need to sign up for anything, basic email use, and different measures of security like PIN numbers and verification codes and what they all mean.
If your children are a bit older or as they get older, try teaching them some other important tips such as always updating whatever security programs you might have including the operating system and also making sure that a personal sweep of the computer every once in a while to check folders for malware and obsolete programs. It will be incredibly useful for them when they get their own computers, and this investment will let them not have to worry about buying a new computer every six months because the old one got trashed by a hacker or malware.
Equip Everyone with a VPN
Internet security isn’t just for home, it is for everywhere you and your family go. In fact, due to public networks being unprotected a majority of the time, you are going to need protection for any devices your family uses to connect to the internet (this includes smartphones) or risk having important personal data intercepted over the network by an opportunistic hacker.
This is why you should make sure everyone in your family has access to a Virtual Private Network and they use it on any mobile device they have. What it will do is make an encrypted connection made over a public network to a secure offsite server. This connection will protect any uploads and downloads which are processed through your host server. Anything you need will then be sent over the safe connection, protecting your devices from onlookers. It also has the added bonus of giving an extra layer of privacy to your children, making them much safer.
There are a lot of VPNs out there, and they all might act just a tiny bit differently so you are going to want to pick out the best one and then teach your family members how to use it. Once they get used to it (it doesn’t take long at all), they’ll be thanking you later for protecting them.
Double Check Which Websites Are Used
You likely know this already, but not all websites are equal when it comes to your safety. In fact, the majority of the websites on the internet are things that neither you nor any member of your family wants anything to do with. They are at best tasteless and at worst ransomware distributors that will take over your computer if not dealt with properly.
Try to only use websites that have https protection, as almost all of them have a degree of authenticity and safety to them. In addition to this, whenever you see a website ask “what is the angle of this website?” and try to figure out what it wants from you. Many want page views, which is harmless. Others want to sell you a product or act as a retailer in a straightforward manner. This is also ok. Yet you will want to talk to your family about websites that mean to spread problems, create popups, and cheat you out of money or information.
Check through your family computer’s history every once in a while, to see if anything is concerning.
Teach Everyone About Scams, Viruses, and Malware
Children can be very trusting as they grow up, especially from sources that might initially appear trustworthy online. It is important to teach children that a great number of people on the internet aren’t there to help them and that there are ways a computer can get sick too depending on how you treat it.
In addition, you should teach them to immediately get you or whoever in your house is the best with computers if anything starts acting funny on the computer screen. That way any problem can be stopped before too much damage is done by a virus. Also, teach them that resetting a computer won’t make some problems go away.
As a general rule, the most important mindset to impart regarding these threats is to pay attention as much as possible and not fall for any traps. Closing the browser and leaving the computer for another time is almost always ok.
Thank you for reading, and may you and your family be safe from all of the dangers out there lurking on the internet. My Cute Bookshelf is a home, lifestyle, and family blog dedicated to sharing useful tips like these.
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