Back to School, Back Online – Safely

437Those sunny summer days are almost over and the school holidays are coming to an end. So our children, instead of spending their time in parks and on beaches, will be back in front of their computers, tablets and smartphones busily exploring online encyclopedias and dictionaries to help them prepare their coursework in complete safety. At least, that’s the idea – but in reality, as well as a wealth of useful material, kids can easily find undesirable content like adult material or violence and sites focused on drug abuse, self-harm or even suicide.

That is why parents need to pay special attention to their children’s online activities. Here are some recommendations from Kaspersky Lab experts to keep your children safe in cyberspace:

Limit the Amount of Time Kids Spend Online

It’s good for kids to spend some time online, looking up educational information and even playing games, chatting with friends or hanging out on Facebook sometimes. However, everybody would agree that most children are probably spending too much time online. That’s why it is important to have strict guidelines about the time a child spends on a computer. Before setting these new rules parents should have a heart-to-heart conversation with a child to explain why these time limits are important. Overwise it might feel like an arbitrary punishment, damaging the trustful relationship between parents and children.

Control the Content

Another piece of advice is to set clear ground-rules about what children can and can’t do online and to explain why you have put them in place. Rules should be reviewed as children grow up. To make sure that a pupil complies with them, we’d recommend using the Parental Control feature, incorporated into Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device. This enables parents not only to limit how long their children can use the Internet, but also to block access to inappropriate sites and games and prevent personal data being shared with others. Websites and games are divided into categories, based on their content and the child’s age. Parents can also easily view detailed reports about what their children have been doing online.

Share some advice with your child

When having a talk regarding the new rules with children, we encourage parents to share some of these tips with them. As well as helping kids protect themselves against online threats, it also makes them feel that they are trusted by their parents.

Do not make your private information available to the public or send it to strangers, especially your contact details, address, your school, etc. By “strangers” we mean any people of any age you don’t know in real life.

Don’t accept any requests to meet in person from strangers

Don’t tell anyone your phone number or e-mail, or publish it on a social network page

Don’t click any links from unknown senders

Don’t trust tempting messages of any sort – free stuff, discounts, increasing your reputation/likes/stars on some site, etc. Just delete such messages and don’t click any links

If something happens online that makes you uncomfortable, or you start getting messages from people who worry you, tell your parents to get their help in solving the problem

Try to find an underlying problem

Parents shouldn’t forget that turning off the computer doesn’t mean the end of the Internet. Kids can stay connected using tablets, smartphones and other devices. If your child immediately looks for another gadget when the computer is unavailable, parents should do more than merely ensure that those devices are protected against cyber threats. Look for the underlying reasons why children are so interested in the online world instead of meeting friends in an offline environment. Is it a lack of social opportunity or a need for more physical activities? In any case, parents need to focus on providing other non-computer-related activities for the whole family to ensure children have a healthy and balanced life.

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