How to Keep Kids Safe Online

If you have children, nieces, nephews, grand children or friends with children, you understand the desperate desire to keep them safe when they venture online, whether through the new game they received this holiday season or just surfing the Internet out of curiosity. The most frustrating aspect of this desperate desire is the black hole of endless things we must concern ourselves with and the impossible task of keeping up with the latest tech trends. It’s overwhelming, truly! If you’re thinking you had the needed conversations with your kids about “stranger danger” and they’re grasping most of it, “Ok Boomer”, they’re already know when it comes to tech, they are much more versed than you.  That translates into an over confidence that they can keep themselves “cyber-safe”.  So, what can you do? Here are some effective measures you can take right now to mitigate the chances of unwanted people connecting with your kids:

Place Computers in A Common Area of The House. Don’t allow kids to have a computer in their bedroom. Make sure the computer screen is visible from other parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall. Kids know!

Set Reasonable Time and Usage Limits Set rules about what your child can and can't do when on the internet. Set time limits on their computer use. Invest in a device like Circle, from Disney, that pairs with your home network (wireless or wired) and allows you to manage every connected device. Using an app on your mobile device you can use it to control internet access for every device on the network.

Set Up Parental Controls in Windows 10

Windows 10 is the current flavor of Microsoft’s operating system and eventually you’ll either upgrade or you’ll find it on your next computer. Windows 10 makes it easier to apply parental controls to each individual computer in your family due to its ability to set up child accounts that can be controlled from a parental account. Windows 10 does th

is by requiring child accounts to log in to a Microsoft account (in place of a local account), allowing parents to apply controls via an online interface.

Set Up Parental Controls in Mac OS

Setting Parental Controls in Mac OS is performed via the System Preferences. Simply click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of the Mac Desktop and then click “System Preferences…” in the pull-down menu that appears.

Next, click the “Parental Controls” icon in the System Preferences window, and you’ll be ready to select the account to manage. If you see the message “There are no user accounts to manage,” you’ll need to add a managed user. Select a user to apply Parental Controls to, and you’ll see a series of tabs at the top of the Parental Controls windows. They are, from left to right: “Apps,” “Web,” “Stores,” “Time,” “Privacy” and the always-intriguing “Other.”

Boost Your Network Security

When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software on you computer or mobile device that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere. if you’re not sure which VPN to choose, contact us and we’ll guide you through the options. Having a VPN will make you more secure!

Use a Firewall

Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network.

Remove Remote Control Software

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) found in every modern version of Windows and OS is designed to let users remotely connect to a computer over a network connection.

If you work with a trusted IT partner, you know they only need one tool to permit remote maintenance. If you don’t work with a trusted IT partner, remove all remote-control applications from your children’s devices to avoid unwanted and dangerous connections.

Teach Your Kids The Importance Of Strong Passwords

Passwords are one of the biggest weak spots in the whole internet security structure, but there's currently no way around them. The problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember (such as "password" and "123456"), which are also easy for cyber thieves to guess.

Replacing passwords with “pass-phrases” is a great way reduce the chance of getting hacked because of a weak password.

Ideally your pass phrase should include:

  • At least five words mixed with numbers and special characters

  • At least 19 characters

  • Something personal and easy to remember

And your pass phrase should never include:

  • Famous or well-known song lyrics or sayings, movie lines or book titles

  • Do not use anything easily found in a book of quotations, or an online quotation compiler

A password manager, such as 1password or LastPass, can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don't forget them.

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