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.
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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