Common Threats and Cyber Concerns for Parents
There are many cyber concerns for parents whose children are starting to venture online. Being a parent in an age where technology is so easily accessible can be scary. It can be difficult to monitor all of your kid’s activities at once. Your children are going to learn how to use a computer and the internet at some point in their lives, whether it’s for school purposes or personal interest. You may think that you have to be a computer expert to figure out how to keep your child safe online, but you don’t! You can help your child become a responsible user of the internet by continuing to use the amazing parenting skills you already use. The best way to help your child is to talk to them about the situation. It may be difficult introducing your child to the real world, but it will make them safer in the end. Educate your children about the possible threats on the internet and how to avoid them.
When talking to your child about safely using the internet, make sure that they don’t see you as wanting to control their every move. Let them take the lead if they know how to use a computer and explore some kid friendly sites. If you just keep telling them what they cannot do, they may think you’re trying to control them, which may result in them doing the exact opposite of what you want them to do. Try not to get frustrated and remember that what you’re doing is for the safety of your children. While they may be hesitant at first, they will thank you in the long run.
- Cybersquatting– Scammers may register a web address that looks like it belongs to a legitimate business, or one that can easily be typed by accident when navigating to a legitimate web site. Example: A scammer will create an address titled “www.gogle.com” which may be accidentally typed when attempting to access “www.google.com”. Double check your spelling and use bookmarks to save sites you know are secure so you can access them later worry free.
- Identity Spoofing– When someone pretends to be someone they are not. This occurs mostly on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check your child’s privacy settings and make sure that only friends can view their profile. Make sure that you know all their user names and passwords and check up one their page regularly. You don’t have to tell them your doing this as it may make them angry and not trust you. Never post anything while using your child’s account. If you see something that worries you, just talk to them about it.
- Cookies– Small files that are saved on your computer either temporarily or permanently depending on what the site decides to do. These files contains information that allows the site to keep track of your preferences. They also usually contain your username and password. Make sure that you always have a firewall on your computer when using the internet. This will help block hackers from getting your information. Also be sure to clear your browser history and cache from your browser settings.
- Malware– Software that intends to hurt your computer. These programs may pretend to be useful such as a new way to defend your computer or something similar. They usually install themselves by getting you to click on a box of some sort. Be sure to never click any suspicious links and always have a firewall. Some common secure firewalls to use are McAfee, Norton, and Total AV.
- Spyware– Software that allows information to be stolen from your hard drive. Some spyware records everything you type. The best way to prevent this to have a firewall.