20.08.2013

Protecting kids from Internet threats

In the global network, there are many websites unsuitable for children, so protecting kids from Internet threats is a critical issue. However, kids’ actions in the Internet could harm parent computers – and the family itself. The child can expose sensitive data by registering at various websites, e.g. the residential address; the websites offering free movies or games can infect the parents’ computer with malware; and even clicking somewhere by accident can lead to unpredictable consequences. A three-year old from New Zealand was browsing around at her parents’ computer – and ended up buying an excavator at one of the Internet marketplaces for a staggering $13,000. This means that a child must not only be protected from threats; he/she should be educated about basic computer and Internet safety.

  1. Install a browser with parental control enabled so you could restrict access to some websites, enable control over session time and adjust other necessary browsing parameters. There are also browsers designed for kids that have corresponding security measures set up by default: you can install one of these and make your child use it for Internet access.
  2. Many antivirus software developers offer complex solutions which have additional functions aimed at protecting children from digital threats. For example, Kaspersky Lab’s Kaspersky Internet Security has a parental control function which enables parents to define a “whitelist” of websites that a child is allowed to visit, limit the time spent browsing, enforce the list of words forbidden in messaging and search results, as well as prevent the child from exposing personal data.
  3. Remember that no technical solution or barrier could make up for parent explanations. Ideally, the child should learn and share his/her Internet experiences with parents. Be around when your child is surfing the Internet and discuss what he/she has learned from browsing today. Don’t be too restrictive: it is very important for the child to understand why he/she shouldn’t do some things. Make sure your explanations appeal to the child: in the case with a three-year old in New Zealand buying an excavator, the parents told the little girl that by buying it, she deprived the family of 20,000 portions of ice cream. The parents report that the child is now acting much more responsibly in the global network.

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