Computer Safety Tips For Kids

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(StatePoint) As more kids than ever, at younger and younger ages, use the family computer for homework and play, it’s important for parents to teach their kids about Internet safety and security.

Even if you think your kids know how to behave online, chances are they’ve been exposed to objectionable content while using the Internet.  According to a new study, “The Secret Lives of Online Teens” conducted by McAfee, 42 percent of teens reported exposure to inappropriate content. What’s worse is that 63 percent of kids say they know how to hide what they’re doing on the Internet from their parents.

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“As the mother of three children, I know how overwhelming it can be as a parent to keep up with what my kids are doing online, but it can be done” says Tracy Mooney, Chief Cyber Security Mom who blogs about computer safety at mcafee.com/family.

According to Mooney, there are five computer safety tips every parent should know:

1) Don’t Talk to Strangers: Grandma’s sage advice works online too. Teach kids to ignore emails and instant messages from people they don’t know. And don’t tell strangers where you live! This means making sure your child hasn’t updated his or her social networking profile with a home or school address, phone number or even e-mail address (cyber stalkers can pretend to be friends by sending a personal message).

2) Protect Your Family’s Personal Info: Families today need comprehensive security protection, including anti-virus and firewall software. You can purchase this protection separately, or if you buy a computer from a major computer manufacturer, such as Dell, it comes pre-installed. For example, Dell computers come with McAfee SecurityCenter, featuring Active Protection technology, which instantly analyzes and blocks new threats in milliseconds so there are no dangerous gaps in protection.

3) Hall Monitors are Needed: Parents should always monitor their child’s use of the Internet. Consider also using family protection software, which lets adults say “yes” to their child’s online interests.  It keeps children of all ages safe from exposure to inappropriate content, social networking risks, strangers and other online threats.

4) Get Kid-Customized: Use free kid-friendly software and Web sites. Browsers for children, such as Kidzui and kid-oriented search engines, such as Yahooligans! (yahooligans.com), Ask Jeeves Kids (ajkids.com) and Kids Click! (kidsclick.org) help direct kids to appropriate sites and make your job easier.

5) Encourage Show and Tell: Since 87 percent of teens go online someplace other than home, it’s important to educate kids about online dangers to help prevent risky situations and to encourage them to talk about bad experiences or if something makes them feel uncomfortable. With this in mind, the experts at Dell are offering free tips and advice at http://dell.to/dCCZ3V, Dell’s online Family Security Learning Center.

“Also, tell your kids to ask your permission before downloading anything,” says Mooney. “The last thing you want on the family PC is pirated or infected materials.”


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