Tips from TELUS for Safer Internet Day

by DaniGirl on February 10, 2014 · 5 comments

in Mothering without a licence,My inner geek

The older the boys get, the more concerned I am about their online safety. The ‘net can be treacherous for savvy adults, let alone kids – will they click on a phishing link and download some malware? Will they be exposed to inappropriate content? Will they be bullied or worse?

And yet, I’d be hypocritical to restrict their access too broadly. I truly believe that the key to keeping kids safe online is constant vigilance on the part of the parent, and open lines of communication. By constant vigilance, I don’t mean spending hours peering over their shoulders – my eyes glaze over at the idea of more than 10 minutes of Minecraft at a time. But there are no closed doors in our house, online or in real life. They know I can and will read all of their e-mails, texts and internet searches. We talk often about the perils of overdisclosure, and how to comport one’s self as a good online citizen. And they know they can always, always come to me if they see something that makes them uncomfortable.

chromebook kitchen

It’s because I am so interested in the topic of online safety for kids that when TELUS sent me a list of tips for parents, I wanted to share it with you. (This is NOT a sponsored post, I am sharing because I think this is important, valuable information.)

Here’s what TELUS said:

Did you know that Tuesday, February 11, 2014 is Safer Internet Day? We will be hosting a live web discussion and Q&A with our partner @MediaSmarts about measures we can take to keep our kids safer online. MediaSmarts has recently revealed the latest findings on what Young Canadians in a Wired World are doing online, which will act as the basis for our discussion. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask the experts any questions you may have on this subject to find out what more you can be doing for you and your family to stay safe on the Internet.

Feel free to invite all your followers to join us too and follow the conversation on @TELUS #TELUSWISE.

You can follow the conversation live on Twitter, or you can dial in to a webinar for more info. Here’s the logistics:

  • To be part of the discussion, you must call into the conference bridge as well as log in to WebEx.
  • If this is your first time using Web Ex, please ensure you log in 10 minutes early as it will take a few minutes for Web Ex to set up on your computer.
  • Go to https://telus.webex.com/telus/j.php?J=925419345
  • Enter the event password: WISE123
  • Click “Join Now”.
  • To join the audio portion of this call, dial 1-855-353-9183 and enter passcode 67758#.

If you can’t tune in to the webinar, here’s ten tips from TELUS on keeping your family safe online:

1. Google yourself – Put a Google Alert on your name so you can track your digital footprint.
2. Set strong passwords – Prevent hackers from getting into your computer, smartphone or online profiles.
3. Turn off geo-tagging – Avoid location details being attached to things like photos when taken on a smartphone.
4. Install security software – Some smartphones come with software to locate your phone when lost; take advantage of these free services.
5. Configure your profile settings – Ensure privacy is set on all your online profiles.
6. Keep your browser updated – and clear your browser history and cache at least once a month.
7. Be cautious using free Wi-Fi – Make sure your device is secure so hackers can access personal information.
8. Choose new aps carefully – Only use your device’s App Store to ensure downloads are safe and virus free.
9. Beware of risks using Bluetooth technology – Only enable connections with trusted devices.
10. Delete personal data when recycling old devices – Use the factory reset to properly remove things like photos, passwords and files.

It’s my middle child who is pushing me out of my comfort zone with social media. I forbade his Twitter account but allowed Instagram. Now he wants to post Minecraft screen-cap movies to YouTube.

I do this for a living and I’m still not ready for this. How are the rest of you managing it?


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah McCormack February 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm

sigh… Minecraft. What was life like before it? I can’t remember.

My older son is 12. He has a tablet and uses it to watch a lot of videos of other kids playing Minecraft.. the appeal of this continues to baffle me. He does post Minecraft videos on a You Tube channel. This, I have allowed, but no social media accounts at the present time. To be honest, he hasn’t asked.

So much to say … but I fear I will get off topic. I will say that it is a vast arena for parents, and like everything, we have to follow our gut and do what feels right for our family.

2 Jennifer February 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I find it somewhat ironic that you wrote a blog post about keeping kids safe online, when you are the one posting pictures of your own children on your blog and providing the whole world with plenty of intimate details about their personal lives. Anyone reading your blog can figure out your kids’ last names, where they live (because you posted photos of the Grapevine real estate listing at one time), and their birthdays, not to mention their favourite hobbies, interests, etc. and can figure out what school they attend. I personally would never be comfortable divulging that much information about my children for all the world to see and think my kids have a right to privacy. Even though I enjoy many of your posts, you might want to consider that your children’s online safety begins with you and what you are sharing about your family.

3 DaniGirl February 11, 2014 at 7:44 am

Sarah, we ARE twins. We really, really have to have that coffee date soon! ;)

Jennifer, I agree with you – sort of. There is a lot of personal information here, but don’t think for a minute that I don’t carefully consider each word and photo. You must have been reading a long time if you remember that old post, so you must have also noticed that I don’t post nearly as much about the boys any more as they are growing up because I believe their stories are becoming their own. You don’t need an old grapevine listing to find out where I live, I’m listed in the phone book and Manotick is definitely a small town in every sense of the word. So yes, there is a set of risks in sharing this much information, but we’ve made the conscious and informed decision to do so as a family. I won’t live in fear and I don’t think sharing photos or stories about my family puts them in even the remotest danger. I truly believe that the best defense against the dangers that do lurk online is awareness and education – which is exactly why I wanted to write this post. My choices for my family might be different than yours for your family, and that’s absolutely fine. Everyone has different comfort levels with what they share online. What’s important is to be aware and make those conscious choices, and to make sure our kids have that kind of digital empowerment.

4 Sarah McCormack February 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

re. getting together… yes…..am counting on it!

Re. Jennifer’s comments .I made the decision, years back to not post photos/names of my boys on line, but it was not out of fear. really, nobody wants to kidnap my kids! for one thing, the whole “watching other kids playing Minecraft on You Tube all day” would drive the kidnappers crazy! It just didn’t feel right for me personally. But I also don’t post on Twitter that I am on a vacation because I do think someone might rob my house … and steal my son’s tablet that he watches said Minecraft videos on…..hmmmmmmmm.

back to the point… it was just something I felt most comfortable with. and that is that. we all have to choose for ourselves, with good common sense, what we share on line.

5 DaniGirl February 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

LOL Sarah, they’d be easy captives to placate – just pop a screen in front of them. Mine, too!

I remember when I was growing up, your telephone answering machine was never supposed to say “we aren’t home” but “we’re not available to answer the phone right now” and even as a kid I was amazed that burglars could be so easily duped. ;) I struggled with this when we went on the cruise last year – how to safely blog about our cruise vacation in real time without posting a “welcome” sign to potential miscreants. I think it takes a certain amount of common sense, but I also think very little of what we fear might happen will ever actually happen. And I think if someone was determined to do something awful, they would find a way no matter how many safeguards were in place.

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