Archive for the ‘At Home’ Category
Online safety is very important and it is a matter that concerns us all. As with other things, we might fall into the trap of thinking that this cannot happen to us personally – until it does.
A little bit of caution goes a long way – so keep reading for a few practical, very handy tips for protecting your personal information and staying safe online:
- Use anti-virus software and firewalls – basic rule for safe online browsing.
- Pick strong passwords. Avoid the trap of picking out simple passwords. They might be easy to remember, but they are also weak and pretty easy to break. Definitely keep away from common words or simple character arrangements like “123456″ or “abc123″ as hackers usually use software to figure out passwords and these programs can run through most common words in just a minute or two. For a strong password, use a minimum of 8 characters. We recommend this article for tips on hard to break passwords and Microsoft’s guide to adding complexity to access codes.
- Finances: You should be very cautious with your personal financial information – especially when using public networks. Make it a rule never to use public networks when doing financial transactions. Personal and financial details should be only sent over a network that you know for sure is secure. Also, it might be wise to type in important URL yourself – do not follow any suspicious links.
- Be wary of messages that request an urgent response with personal and financial information. This kind of e-mails usually represents scams and you should avoid them. Also, never click on links from e-mail or source that you do not trust.
- When doing payments over the internet, always look for ‘https’ in the address bar and a padlock – these mark a secure website connection.
- Use separate e-mail addresses: Instead of linking all your accounts – Facebook, Twitter, newsgroups, forums, shopping and banking sites to one single e-mail address, use multiple addresses – for example one for your social activities and one for your financial information. Your social address will draw more attention than your other one and if it is hacked into, it will not be as much of a mess as having your financial details unwillingly shared.
- When shopping online, you need to be extra careful. Regardless of how attractive and trust-inspiring an online shop is, avoid those that ask only for cash, cheque or virtual cash payments. Buy only from sites that accept card payments and use only credit cards – no debit cards. Also, ensure that the shop has a physical address, ideally in your country.
- Use 2-step verification for your accounts – when and if available. Facebook and Google for example offer this, offering you an extra layer of security. The 2-step verification requires your personal phone number, besides the username and password. So even if someone is trying to hack into your account, they will not be able to because they do not have access to your phone.
A few people have recently been asking me about the safety of their kids online. How long do kids usually play online – are there kids over doing it? Since it is summer, some parents are seeing the online addiction shining through their kids. I am going to post some interesting stats that I have come across over the last few months.
- Kids between 10-14 years old usually spend 6-10 hours online per week.
- The majority of teenagers’ online use occurs at home, right after school, when working parents are not at home.
- 43% of children said they do not have rules about Internet use in their homes. - please note that I think this number is WAY to high. Everyone has rules about lots of different things in their homes, Internet Safety should be one of them.
- 1/3 of youth have been asked to meet somewhere, speak on the phone or send money /gifts via the postal system by a predator.
- 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services.
- 90% of Internet traffic is pornography related.
- Sex is the #1 searched for topic on the Internet.
- Pornographic web pages now top 260 million and growing at an unprecedented rate.
- 11 is the average age of a child’s first experience with pornography. 90% 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online. 79% of these teens did so from their school library. 67% of these teens did so from their own home.
- 1/5 teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet say that they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation. Solicitations are defined as a request to engage in sexual activity, talk or to provide personal sexual information.
- 25% of youth who encountered a sexual approach told a parent.
- 27% of online teens reported that they have talked about sex online with someone they have never met in person.
- 26 popular children’s characters, such as Pokemon, My Little Pony and Action Man, revealed thousands of links to porn sites. 30% were hard-core. - this stat shocked me. My Little Pony is one of my daughter’s favorite sites. I am not worried, because of PurePages Internet, but what if we didn’t?
These stats may have raised an eyebrow when you were reading them… now think, by the time you have finished reading this blog, those numbers have only increased.
Do you remember the first time you saw an X-rated magazine? Was it exciting or scary – hmm, perhaps a bit of both… well, what if you saw these imagines, online, a place where you go to hang out and play? These images can stay with a child forever… as adults we don’t look at it that way, but as a young child, its like seeing two animals kill each other -lol! Its mind boggling!
Again, as I have said so many times before, just keep an eye on your kids. If you start monitoring them when they are young it will be second nature to them and they will not know any different.
If you have tweens and you notice any of the following… start looking a bit more closely as they are signs of being “friends” with a predator.
• Spends a lot of time online
• Find porn on the computer
• Receives phone calls, mail, gifts from unknown people
• Withdraws from normal activity
• Switches screen quickly (Alt+Tab)
• Uses other accounts for e-mail or Instant Messaging
If you wish to sit down and show your kids some Internet Safety videos, please visit http://www.internet101.ca/. They have great videos that really make you think about your safety. We often show these at our presentations and many of the Police officers do as well.
If you have any specific concerns please contact me.