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Internet Child Security: Monitoring Your Kid's Online Safety

Teaching our children online safety is every bit as important these days as teaching them the basics of "real world" physical security. The old adages of "don't talk to strangers" and other similar sayings now have their own electronic counterparts, and you should be aware of all of the possibilities to ensure the safety of your kids when they go on the internet. Here are the major hazards of children going online, along with a few bits of advice on how to deal with them.

Hazardous Programs/Software Online - viruses, spyware, worms, and trojans are some of the major threatening software that can be encountered online. Having security programs that detect and block incoming threats isn't always enough. Since these programs can ride piggyback disguised as or attached to harmless looking email, make sure that your children never accept email from any sources they don't know, and even to reject ones with suspicious sounding names even from sources that they DO trust, as their friends' computers might have gotten infected and the emails sent out automatically by the viruses. On a related note, teach your kids the importance of maintaining a firewall and anti virus shield. Show them how to operate them, and tell them NEVER to turn it off just because the firewall may be doing something "inconvenient" like blocking a game site.

Verbal Abuse Online - wether in chat rooms, forums, clubs, and online gaming, there are enough vicious, small minded, stupid, and harmful people that might heap verbal abuse on your children, swearing at them or making sexual advances on them, or even striking at their religious or ethnic backgrounds. Teach your children that they do NOT have to put up with this online any more than they have to in real life. They should know how to get recordings or screenshots of the instances, and take them to you. You can then ensure your child's safety by contacting the moderator of the forum, game, site, etc. in question and having them ban the offending parties. If the abuse is excessive, you can even opt for taking legal action against the person or people involved, just as you would push a slander and abuse charge if they did it on the street. The internet's advantage in such cases is that screenshots and official records from the sites can be used as hard evidence, unlike real-life verbal abuse cases where the evidence is usually gleaned from reliable witnesses.

Phishing - another danger online is the crime of phishing. This involves people contacting you or your children claiming to be something harmless like a bill collector, law enforcer, government employee, salesman, etc and attempting to get you or your children to give them sensitive information over the internet. This usually involves things like credit card numbers, home phone and address, social security numbers, etc. As in real life, the best defense against this is to teach your children to never divulge any information to someone they don't personally know, and to avoid giving out extra-sensitive information (credit card!) to anyone, even those they DO know. One type of software that helps defend against these cases is the supervisor monitoring program. These packages are usually meant for office use to monitor the times a user logged into a computer, what sites they visited, whch programs were run, what was downloaded and uploaded, and even what was typed. While this will not directly avoid phishing in case your kids DO give out information inadvertently, it WILL at least allow you to find out after the fact and to take appropriate legal measures using that hard evidence against the parties involved.

Stuff You Don't Want Them Seeing - lastly there are, sadly, many sites out there that we don't want our kids seeing. Aside from the obvious pornographic sites there are also ones involving graphic displays of extremes of violence, or have teachings and ideologies we'd rather not have our kids exposed to. To prevent this, parental lock programs and timers can be used to limit which sites your children can visit and how long they can stay on the internet. These types of software mesh perfectly with the Computer monitoring software to allow you to know what your children are doing online when they think you're not looking.

Keep Your Kids Safe with a Thick Firewall

Your kids have the potential to attract malicious internet attacks and unwanted people from taking over your system. This is because they may not have the ability to know if the sites or programs they are visiting and using are safe or not. And this is not their fault. As a parent, you should always take the initial move to take care of your kids whenever they go online. One way to do it is by setting up a good firewall.

A firewall is a computer security device that prohibits illegal access to your computer. In physical analogy, a firewall is like a main door of your house with security lock the separates you from the outside world. If someone wants to enter through your door without a pass, that someone can't enter. The firewall can automatically decline the entry attempt of other network from your computer.

What does this say to you and to the safety of your kids?

Kids can accidentally or intentionally enter unsuitable websites, receive unsolicited email, or engage in scandalous online conversation without their parents knowing. And without something to block these things, kids may be standing in direct danger, as well as the computer.

A firewall allows parents to dictate the traffic of your system; just like the power to dictate who is allowed to hold the pass to your house. Parents can set and configure the security level of the computer which can protect your kids from illegal access that can protect your kids' personal file and personal information. This is called pin-holing. A firewall makes sure that the system inside your computer is safe from the outside threat trying to get inside as well as those coming from the pre-existing programs of your computer attempting connect with the internet.

It must be made clear that a firewall isn't capable of protecting your kids from phising, scams, and online predators. They are a whole different treat altogether. So if you want to protect your kids from these threats, you need to get a different program like web filtering software. A firewall only prevents these dangers from happening by blocking the access to these sites.

Again, firewalls enable parents to keep the computer clean from maliscious attacks and protect your kids by making sure that they don?t attract anyone who tries to takeover your computer and get vital information about your family.

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