Computer and Internet Safety Tips
Below are basic safety tips that when practiced will help keep you, your children, your privacy and information protected while using the computer and Internet.
Create a Strong Password – Strong
passwords are a must in order to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
The following guidelines can help you
ensure you are creating strong passwords for all of your online activity.
- Use a mixture
of capital and lower cased letters, numbers, special characters, and punctuation
- Include at least
six characters, although in some cases eight or more are required. Each
character added increases your protection.
- Avoid using
sequences, repeated characters, and easily obtainable information such
as your home address or initials in passwords.
- Become familiar with your password so you don’t
have to look down at the keyboard. This makes it more difficult for over-the-shoulder
readers to figure out your password.
- Use different
passwords for different Internet sites.
- Memorizing your
passwords is ideal. If you do write passwords down, make sure to store
them in a safe place.
- Change your
passwords regularly. (It is recommended to change them at least every six
- Avoid sharing
passwords with others.
- Never provide
your password over email or in response to an email request. If you are
ever asked for your password or other personal information
in an email, do not respond. This is a scam to obtain your identity.
- Avoid typing
passwords on computers that you do not control. Public computers may have
software that memorizes key strokes ultimately gaining
your passwords and Internet browsing history.
- Remember to
always log off of public computers.
- Only use secure
sites when using personal information. When shopping online, make sure
that the websites where financial information is entered
begins with https:// and features a yellow lock icon in the bottom right
corner or green address bar.
- Establish rules
for online use with your kids before they begin using social networking
or blogging sites. This includes how much time they
online and how often they can be online.
- Know the social media or blogging site. Does it provide private, password – protected
- Save the web address of your kid’s
blog. Review it regularly.
- Pay attention
to what your kids plan to post before it is posted. They may not realize
that something they say could reveal who they are,
where they go to school, where they live, etc.
- Teach your child
to use only a first name or nickname, but not a nickname that would attract
inappropriate attention. Also, do not allow
your child to
post their full name, the full names of their friends or other identifying
information such as their home address, city, or school.
- Be aware of
other identifiable information in your child's profile. Teach your children
to be careful not to reveal information that can identify
them, such as a school mascot, a workplace, or the name of the town they
live in. Too much information can make your children vulnerable to cyberbullying,
Internet predators, Internet fraud, or identity theft.
- Encourage your
children to tell you if something they encounter on the Internet makes
them feel anxious, uncomfortable, or threatened. Let
know you will work with them to help resolve the situation positively.
- As soon as your
children use the Internet on their own, establish rules for Internet use.
These rules should define whether your children
can use social networking sites and how they can use them.
- The recommended
age to sign up for social websites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) is
usually 13 and over. If your children are under the recommended
age, do not let them use the sites.
- Educate and
evaluate the sites that your child plans to use and make sure both you
conduct. Find out if the site monitors content that people post. Also,
review your child's page periodically.
- Teach your children never meet anyone in person that they've communicated
with online only. It might not be enough to simply tell your child not to talk
to strangers. Your child might not consider someone they've "met" online
to be a stranger.
- You can help
protect your children by encouraging them to use sites to communicate only
with friends. Children should not communicate with
people online that they have never met in person.
- Be smart about
details in photographs. Explain to your children that photographs can reveal
a lot of personal information. Encourage your
not to post photographs of themselves or their friends with clearly identifiable
details such as street signs, license plates on their cars, or their school
name on clothing.
- Teach your children
about cyberbullying. As soon as your children are old enough to use social
websites, talk to them about cyberbullying.
Tell them that if they think they're being cyberbullied, they should share
information right away with a parent, a teacher, or another adult that
they trust. It's also important to encourage kids to communicate with other
online in the same way they would face-to-face.
- Removal of your
child's page. If your children refuse to follow the rules you've set to
help protect their safety and you've attempted to
them change their behavior, you can contact the social website your child
uses and ask them to remove the page.
How to Block Websites –
If you are looking for a way to protect your children from inappropriate websites,
we have been testing K9 Web Protection and have had positive results with it.
It is currently a free program for home use.
Online Shopping –
Only put payment information into a web site that is secure. To check whether
a site is secure, check that “https” is the prefix of the web page
address. You should also click on the “lock” icon (an image of
a padlock) to learn details on the site’s security. If everything
looks good, the web site is a secure way to transfer your sensitive information.
- Monitor your credit card and bank statements. After making an online
purchase, check your next statements to make sure that you weren’t
charged any additional items or over charged. If you suspect a problem,
company you purchased the items from immediately.
- Carefully read the checkout page to be certain you are not signing
up for any further charges (monthly fee’s, etc.)
Information compiled from the following source: