Category Archives: Internet Safety for Teenagers

Join The Crowd – Snoop On Your Kids Internet Privacy – 55% Of Brits Do!

imageDo you monitor your children’s online activity? Is an invasion of your child’s privacy on such a scale, necessary? Do you tell yourself that you’re just being prudent?

We know from survey after survey, that teenagers have misplaced confidence in their ability to stay safe online. While the majority of teenagers say they are confident they can remain safe online, survey results continue to show a wide gap exists between the perception, and the reality.

Even so – is that state of affairs cause for alarm? Or, have parents been manipulated into a state of “perverts run amok” fear and anxiety, by a mainstream media which is expert at molding public perception – à la Rupert Murdoch and his now defunct News of the World? The fear mongering practiced by parental control security providers, I’ll leave for another time.

Given the often accepted (but, statistically false) notion that children/teenagers are in mortal danger in a technological age with its easy access to social networking, mobile communication (and all that entails), lost in the translation, it seems to me, are the practical benefits for adolescents that technology provides.

It would be difficult to argue to the contrary, that today’s young people face a tough, harsh “World”, the World of the Internet and attached devices –  in which the technology itself, the content it delivers and its instant contact capabilities – come with associated risks.

Undoubtedly, there are age specific potential risks but, snooping on your child’s or your adolescent’s online activity, is hardly what could be called – a positive influence. Certainly not when communication – the sharing of knowledge and safety strategies – coupled with effective guidance, is much more likely to lead to the results that all parents are seeking.

The reality is – staying safe in today’s techno centric world demands knowledge, and acquiring that knowledge requires that a major effort be made to obtain it. If you, as a parent, see the need to positively influence your young person’s technology habits then, you must make the effort to acquire the appropriate knowledge.

On the other hand, you can always take the easy way out and – just snoop. If you so choose, rest assured that you’ll have lots of company.

According to a recently released study commissioned by security application provider BullGuard, made up of 2000 interviews of internet users across the UK – 55% of parents “keep an eye” on a son or daughter by checking their social networking profile, with a further 5% saying “they would if they knew how”.

This snooping doesn’t stop there however – 76% of respondents say they check Internet history to ensure children aren’t visiting unsuitable websites –  21% check instant messaging history, and 23% snoop through email accounts.

Additional information on the survey is available here.

Young people value their privacy – just as we all do. I suspect that those parents who routinely violate this privacy compact, as the 55% of respondents to this survey apparently do, may well have additional issues (other than a lack of appropriate parenting skills), with which they need to deal. I suspect that their mental balance sheet is more than a little skewed.

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Filed under Internet Safety for Teenagers, Online Safety, Point of View, social networking, Social Networks, Windows Tips and Tools

A Parents’ Facebook Safety Primer

imageThe more things change, the more they remain the same – or so we’ve been told. When I was a teenager, I was pretty typical for the times – I knew everything! On top of that – I was convinced that I was invincible! Pretty standard fare when one is a teenager, I think.

Since those days, back in the “dark ages”, the World has changed dramatically – except perhaps, for teenagers’ views of the World. They still know everything; they’re still invincible.

In my day, this overwhelming self confidence in what I knew, and the faith I had in my invincibility, was essentially harmless – other than the inevitable parental conflict it caused, of course.

But today’s young people face a tougher, harsher “World”, the World of the Internet, in which the “I know everything” frame of mind, can lead to consequence which were unknown to those of my generation.

This “I know everything” perspective, is a major stumbling block which impacts a teenager’s ability to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy, and safety. Particularly the Internet phenomenon – Facebook.

The reality is – staying safe in today’s techno centric world demands knowledge, and acquiring that knowledge requires that a major effort be made to obtain it. Little, if any, of this knowledge, is acquired through osmosis.

If you’re a parent, you should know that because your teenager may be more comfortable with technology than you, does not makes your teenager tech savvy. Knowing how to text message, or load a game onto an Xbox, does not make anyone “tech savvy”. It really is a situation where the “I know everything” mindset, can lead to negative consequences.

We know from survey after survey, that teenagers have misplaced confidence in their ability to stay safe online. While the majority of teenagers say they are confident they can remain safe online, survey results continue to show a wide chasm exists between the perception, and the reality.

So, how can you, as a parent, help your teenager acquire the knowledge needed to enhance overall personal security in todays “wild west” Internet environment?

A great place to start is – not only read, but share with your teenager,  a 32 page PDF guidebook for parents’ – A Parents’ Guide to Facebook, released today by Connect Safely, an Internet resource “for parents, teens, educators, advocates – everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web.”

As well, Connect Safely has a ton of social-media safety tips for teens and parents, the latest youth-tech news, and many other resources.

Visit Connect Safely.org, where you can read this handbook online, or better yet, print out the guide for continued reference.

From the site:

Welcome to our guidebook for parents! It’s designed to help you understand what Facebook is and how to use it safely. With it, you will be better informed and able to communicate with young Facebook users in your life more effectively.

That’s important because 1) if something goes wrong, we want our children to come to us and 2) as the Internet becomes increasingly social and mobile, a parent’s guidance and support are ever more key to young people’s well-being in social media and technology. The guidebook is published in partnership with the iKeepSafe Coalition.

About the Internet Keep Safe Coalition:

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe.org) is an international coalition of more than 100 leaders worldwide with a shared vision of seeing generations of the world’s children grow up safely using technology and the Internet.

Coalition members include policy leaders, industry, public health, child advocacy, law enforcement, and education experts, working together to bring all communities into full digital citizenship.

Internationally, iKeepSafe has outreach programs in Australia, China, Dubai, Nigeria, the UK and US. IKeepSafe is a member of Egypt’s Cyberpeace Initiative with First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, the EastWest Institute’s Cybersecurity initiatives, and the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection Initiative.

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Filed under FaceBook, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Parenting Help, Social Networks, Teenager Internet Safety Tips, Windows Tips and Tools

Tips For Using Instant Messenger Applications Safely

imageIn a recent Symantec survey, which questioned computer users on the most likely routes cybercriminals use to drop malware on unsuspecting users, one resultant statistic made me sit up a little straighter. Just 3.9% of survey participants believed that Instant Messenger applications had a role in malware distribution.

Given the frequency with which instant messaging is used to distribute malware (recent statistics indicate almost 50% of worms use this method to spread), I was more than a little surprised at this unrealistic response.

We’ve talked about IM security a number of times here, but this recent statistics indicates, a quick refresher might be in order.

The reality is, from a security perspective Instant Messaging applications can present considerable security risks. Security breakdowns can occur when these programs are used to share files, folders, or in some cases, entire drives. Instant messaging, unfortunately, is a primary channel used by cyber-criminals to distribute malware and scams.

Just a few days ago, for example, a Trend Micro analyst discovered an IM variant of the “Solve the IQ test”. Had he followed the instructions, he could have let himself in for a series of monthly charges of $9.99–$19.99 a month, automatically added to his cell phone bill.

Programs such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, and a basket full of other IM applications, are extremely popular with users who want real-time contact with each other and (no surprise here), this makes them the perfect vehicle for cyber criminals.

Hackers use two methods of delivering malicious code through IM: delivery of virus, Trojan, or spy ware within an infected file, and the use of “socially engineered” text with a web address that entices the recipient to click on a URL which connects to a website that downloads malicious code. Viruses, worms, and Trojans then typically propagate, by sending themselves rapidly through the infected user’s buddy list.

image

The following is a series of sensible tips for users to get the most out of these programs, securely and responsibly.

As with any other application you use on the Internet, having the knowledge that allows you to use it safely, and being aware of current threats, will make for a more positive experience when using these wildly popular applications.

Don’t click on links, or download files from unknown sources. You need to be alert to the dangers in clicking on links, or downloading files from sources that are not known to you. Even if the files or links apparently come from someone you know, you have to be positive that it really was this person who has sent the message.

Check with your contact to be sure the files, or links are genuine. Remember, if you click on those links, or run those attachments without confirmation, you run the risk of letting malware into your computer.

Use only secure passwords, and be sure to change them regularly. The longer and more varied they are – using a variety of different characters and numbers – the more secure they will be.

Protect personal and confidential information when using IM. Revealing confidential or personal information in these types of conversations, can make you an easy target for Internet predators.

For added protection when using a public computer, ensure that you disable any features that retain login information to prevent other users from gaining access to your instant messaging once you leave.

It’s virtually impossible to avoid publishing your email address on the Internet, however do so only when absolutely necessary. Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for accounts to target.

Instant Messanger changed Above all, if you are a parent, take exceptional care with the access that your children have to these programs.

The risk here goes beyond malware, as sadly, they could come into contact with undesirable individuals. The risk is low of course, but……..

Elsewhere in this Blog, you can read an article on protecting your children on the Internet and download free software, Parental Control Bar,  to help you do just that.

Readers with younger children, please read, KidZui – Free, Safe Internet Browsing for Kids, on this site. This guest writer article, by Silki Garg of the Internet Security Blog, provides a comprehensive review of KidZui.

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Filed under Child Safety Internet, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Instant Messenger Safety Tips, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Sex (ting) – Who’s Really Doing It? It’s NOT Just Teens!

Sex and the City

Apparently, if we’re not thinking about sex, we’re talking about sex. If we’re not talking about sex, we’re engaged in sex. If we’re not engaged in sex, we’re thinking and talking and planning, on becoming engaged in sex. Whew – no wonder I’m so tired!

According to sexologists, anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists, (and other …ists, I’m sure), a common denominator amongst humans is the degree to which they think of sex.

Given that we all seem to have this supposed preoccupation with sex – is it any wonder then, that the Internet, and its associated connected devices, have become a common outlet for erotic fantasies.

The meshing of sex and tech, has generated a Pandora’s box of problems, and associated issues, that need to be resolved socially, legally, and morally.

One of these problematic issues, is the issue of sex, tech, and teens; more precisely – teenaged sexting.

It’s an issue that has been a focus of attention in the news recently (today in fact, on CNN) – at least here in North America.

And, in typical fashion in matters dealing with sexual issues, law enforcement officials, in many areas, have  abandoned common sense and regularly charge teenagers who exchange consensual nude photographs of themselves, with the production, dissemination, and possession of child pornography

So, is this just one more example of “officialdom’s” hysteria, and overreaction on sexually related issues? Or,  is sexting, particularly teen sexting, a real problem that requires the harsh application of punitive measures to eradicate?

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy,  weighed in on this issue in a recent survey; a survey which seems to indicate that teen sexting is a problem. You should be aware that additional independent statistics suggest; 28 per cent of parents are sexting fans.

Survey statistics:

15 Percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or seminude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

48 Percent of teenagers say they have received such messages.

71 Percent of teen girls and 67% of teen boys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent or posted this content to a boyfriend or girlfriend.

21 Percent of teenage girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent such content to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

44 Percent of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

36 Percent of teen girls and 39 % of teen boys say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

51 Percent of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images; only 18 % of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.

66 Percent of teen girls and 60% of teen boys say they did so to be “fun or flirtatious”; their most common reason for sending sexy content.

52 Percent of teenage girls used sexting as a “sexy present” for their boyfriend.

44 Percent of both teen girls and teen boys say they sent sexually suggestive messages or images in response to such content they received.

40 Percent of teenage girls said they sent sexually suggestive messages or images as “a joke.”

34 Percent of teen girls say they sent or posted sexually suggestive content to “feel sexy.”

12 Percent of teen girls felt “pressured” to send sexually suggestive messages or images.

Apart from the legal issues, which can have grave lifetimes consequences, teenagers engaging in what they may consider harmless fun, run the risk of having to deal with the outcome of present day “harmless fun” in the future, which could impact their lives in ways not yet considered.

Think Before You Post, an online resource from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, designed specifically for teenagers, should really be a required component of everyone’s online education – not only teenagers.

The following tips are included on this online resource for teenagers to think about.

Use webcams or post photos online only with your parents’ and guardians’ knowledge and supervision.

Ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if your friends or family saw the pictures or video you post online. If the answer is yes, then you need to stop.

Be aware of what is in the camera’s field of vision and remember to turn the camera off when it is not in use. Checkout our recent article on web cam safety – “Big Brother” isn’t the only one watching you. “Uncle Nasty” is out there prowling the Internet too!

Be careful about posting identity-revealing or sexually provocative photos. Don’t post photos of others — even your friends — without permission from your friends’ parents or guardians. Remember – once such images are posted you give up control of them and you can never get them back.

Recommended parental resources:

Text Ed – The LG Text Ed program will tackle pressing issues such as tween and teen sexting, managing children’s phone usage, the importance of self-esteem in a wireless world, recognizing potentially harmful and hurtful mobile phone behavior, and other concerns facing parents and their children.

Cyber Summer Safety Challenge for Kids & Teens – The Cyber Summer Safety Challenge was developed to get parents, teens and kids to start a dialogue about Internet safety, social networking, online threats and what they can do to protect themselves and their computers.

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Filed under Bill's Rants, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Personal Perspective, Privacy, Sexting, Teenager Internet Safety Tips, Windows Tips and Tools

"Big Brother" isn’t the only one watching you. "Uncle Nasty" is out there prowling the Internet too!

image Widespread publicity, generated by the use of so-called “legitimate” spycam software in the ongoing “Pennsylvania High School Caught Filming Naked Teenage Students In Their Bedrooms”, class action lawsuit, and more recent reports from around the world of stealth webcam-activating malware being used to spy on young girls and boys, should be waving a bright red flag warning about the potential for webcam misuse. But, statistics show that most people pay little, or no, attention.

Average PC users don’t seem too concerned about webcam vulnerability, or worried by the fact, that some lowlife grub could be watching them as they read this page.

“It can never happen to me because I have the free version of AV-Poopscan installed” … right ?

WRONG!

“No LED / No Warning” Trojans, that switch on your webcam by stealth, were once a closely guarded secret. So closely guarded, that some “computer security expert” journalists, refused to believe they existed, and filed reports about them in the urban myth basket, along with hardware-destroying viruses, and alligators in the New York sewers.

But the fact is, organized gangs of professional cyber thieves have been using surreptitious webcam activation to steal identities, personal information, banking information, credit card numbers, etc for years. “Uncle Nasty” jumped on the bandwagon when stealth webcam Trojans turned up as free downloads on underground websites, last year.

Their use as “perv cams” has skyrocketed in the past few months, and now, hardly a week goes by without another privacy invasion horror story – some of them involving hundreds of unsuspecting teenage victims.

A few weeks ago, Audrey wrote to me:

Hello Bill,

I think your readers need to know about this. I downloaded the free Zemana Antilogger program you offered last month.

After what happened tonight, saying I’m impressed with it would be the understatement of the 21st century.

My 12 year old daughter uses her laptop in her bedroom (don’t they all?) and earlier tonight she called me in and showed me that Antilogger was blocking her webcam from starting.

When I let it run to see what it would do, someone, or something, activated the webcam without the warning LED lighting up to show that it was switched on.

With a bit of fiddling, I was able to bring the video of me looking at myself to the screen, but there was still no indication that the webcam was running.

I deleted the Antilogger allow rule so whoever or whatever it was is blocked in future, but I’m stunned that someone, or something, could remotely switch on the webcam like that.

They might have been trying to steal credit card numbers, which seems to be quite common these days, but what if it was some sicko pervert?

My daughter gets out of the shower and gets dressed in full view of that webcam. She could have been plastered naked all over YouTube and FaceBook by morning.

This sneaky webcam stuff takes “upskirt” to a whole new level.

That says it all.  Perv cam is the new Upskirt!

Just yesterday, here in Toronto, a pervert was arrested and charged with peeking up women’s skirts with a video camera, in a busy downtown subway station and mall. (Source: Toronto Star)

To protect your kids from “Uncle Nasty”, Zemana is offering Tech Thoughts readers a free 60-day AntiLogger license. Grab it while it’s hot!

Download the program from Zemana, here.

Then, download your free activation key from this special page Zemana has set up especially for Tech Thoughts readers.

This offer will expire at the end of this month. So, grab it while it’s hot!

To read my full review of “Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention”, go here.

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Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Child Safety Internet, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Security, trojans, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

New McAfee Study – Teenagers Confidence In Staying Safe Online Misplaced

image McAfee Inc., a well known provider of antivirus software and intrusion prevention solutions, has just released its most recent research data on the behavior of young people, while using the Internet.

The Youth Online Behavior Study, of 1,357 young people between the ages of 10 and 17 in the United States, conducted in May of this year, reinforces previous McAfee studies which indicated that teenagers have misplaced confidence in their ability to stay safe online.

While ninety-five percent of teenagers say they are confident they can remain safe online, survey results show a wide chasm exists between the perception, and the reality.

One of the more harmful urban myths, continually perpetuated by security providers, including McAfee, despite their own evidence to the contrary is – we have raised, or are raising a “tech savvy” generation.

I find the dichotomy to be just slightly less than bizarre. It’s little wonder that most parents believe it. This “truth” however, should not be taken at face value.

Simply because a teenager is more comfortable with technology than a parent, does not makes a teenager tech savvy. Knowing how to text message, or load a game onto an Xbox, does not make one “tech savvy”. It really is a situation where “they don’t know what they don’t know”, can have serious impact.

The following selected statistics from the McAfee study offer substantial proof:

More than one quarter (27%) of teens online had accidently allowed their home computer to become infected with a virus or other malware.

One in four kids (25%) report that they wouldn’t know what to do if they were bullied or harassed online.

More teens also admit to giving their cell phone numbers to someone online whom they don’t know in the offline world (12% this year, compared to 8% in 2008).

One quarter (25%) of girls—including 43% of girls ages 16 to 17—admit to chatting online with people they do not know.

Girls are also more likely than boys to get harassed online, share their passwords with friends, give a description of what they look like to strangers, and share photos of themselves.

Boys are more likely to download programs without their parents’ knowledge.

69 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have included their physical locations on the social networking status updates

16 per cent of the teenagers involved in the McAfee study, indicated they had developed social networking profiles and Email addresses, which they had hidden from their parents.

I found the most surprising and troubling statistic to be; 31 percent of those surveyed stated that they’d change their behaviors if their parents monitored their online behaviors.

You can read the full report, in PDF format, here.

It’s reasonable to state, based on accumulated evidence, that the majority of teenagers, are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy and safety.

So, if you’re a parent, the following are just some of the questions you should consider:

  1. What social networking sites does your child subscribes to?
  2. Who are their online friends and acquaintances?
  3. What does your child post online and where is it posted?

Most importantly, you and your teenagers need to agree, that the following guidelines will be adhered to. That they will –

Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.

Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.

Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.

Never download applications from an unknown source.

Never respond to messages or social site postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

An additional problematic issues is, the issue of sex, tech and teens; more precisely – teenaged sexting. For information on this current issue, please read “Sexting – A Real Problem or an Overreaction?” on this site.

Additional resources:

Microsoft Online Safety

WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free and effective Internet control tools.

The FBI Kids’ Page – designed for children and their parents to learn more about the FBI through age-appropriate games, tips, stories and interactives.

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Filed under cybercrime, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Microsoft, Parenting Help

The Internet is NOT Childs Play – Internet Tips for Parents

imageIn the last year,  McAfee Inc., the well known provider of antivirus software and intrusion prevention solutions, released research which indicated that most American mothers rate their teenagers’ online safety, their exposure to drugs and drunk driving, as essentially equal anxiety producing agents.

So, were these mothers concerns justified?

You bet! While it’s true that the Internet can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children, and teenagers, it is virtually impossible for them not to be exposed to,  “the underbelly of the internet”.

One of the more harmful urban myths, which most adults believe is, we have raised, or are raising a “tech savvy” generation. This “truth” however, should not be taken at face value.

Simply because a teenager is more comfortable with technology than a parent, does not makes a teenager tech savvy. Knowing how to text message, or load a game onto an Xbox, does not make one “tech savvy”. It really is a situation where “they don’t know what they don’t know”, can have serious impact.

I fully understand where this idea of the tech savvy generation comes from – just listen to the mainstream media. The media constantly pontificates on how technically literate today’s young people are. The dichotomy is, these are the same young people whose literacy skills are insufficient to deal with their own education, never mind the complexities the techno world presents.

If you think this is an overstated argument, then consider this: According to a study of more than 19,000 college graduates, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 31 percent can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. Without doubt, the world of Internet security is the most complex world I have ever inhabited.

Staying safe in today’s techno centric world demands knowledge, and acquiring that knowledge requires that a major effort be made to obtain it. Lacking in appropriate literacy skills makes the job of accumulating that knowledge a difficult undertaking.

It’s no wonder then, that the majority of children, and teenagers, are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy and safety.

Let me ask you this question – would you drop off your child, or teenager, in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and which was potentially full of predators?

In my view, if you allow your child, or younger teenager, to interact with the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information concerning potential on-line dangers, this is what you may well be doing.

How much do you know about where your child goes on the Internet?

What social networking sites does your child subscribes to?

Who are their online friends and acquaintances?

What does your child post online and where is it posted?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are not alone. Recent statistics make it clear that fully 80% of parents don’t know.

It’s easy to see why this knowledge gap exists; since reports indicate 8 of out of 10 parents give their children unrestricted access to the Internet, without implementing parental control settings.

Additional study statistics:

Providing personal information to online strangers – 52 per cent of teens in the study reported having done so.

Providing a photograph, or a physical description, to online strangers – 34 per cent of teenage girls in the study, reported having done so.

Clearing the browser cache so that their Internet history cannot be tracked – 32 per cent of the teenagers in the study, reported having done so.

I found the most surprising and troubling statistic to be; 16 per cent of the teenagers involved in the McAfee study, indicated they had developed social networking profiles and Email addresses, which they had hidden from their parents.

So what’s a concerned parent to do?

fbi_logo 2

You can bring yourself and your teenager up to speed on online safety, by taking the “McAfee/Comcast Cyber Summer Safety Challenge”. You might be surprised at what you can learn.

Then, follow the advice offered by the FBI in the United States, which lists some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your teenagers possible victimization on the Internet.

According to the FBI, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.

Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.

Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.

Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.

Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.

Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.

Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

Parental Control Bar 2

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by child safety experts/organizations), is the installation of parental control software.

Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.

Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.

Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.

Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.

Set different restrictions for each family member.

Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids

Enforce time limits set by parents.

If your operating system does not offer parental control features, and you would like to implement this, then check out my review, on this site, of a free application offered by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free and effective Internet control tools – “Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar”.

An additional problematic issues is, the issue of sex, tech and teens; more precisely – teenaged sexting. For information on this current issue, please read “Sexting – A Real Problem or an Overreaction?” on this site.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Child Safety Internet, cybercrime, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Sexting, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools