I feel like my boys are on the computer 24/7. All 3 use computers provided by us or our school system, depending on which age guy we are talking about, extensively for classes. In addition almost all parent-teacher communication is done online. “Schoology” and “Family Access” are the two most used that cover everything from missed homework assignments to lunch money account payments.
Internet safety is a hot topic, of course, and they have that well covered. Almost too well. I taught a WordPress web design seminar to 40 6th graders. I know you are shaking your head and thinking “why?” My middle schooler is a computer geek like me and a gamer. Gaming and web design are a topic he’s interested in and we thought a workshop would be a great fit for the diverse class. Unfortunately, even with notice, access to the internet was so restricted I could not load the class website I designed for them to learn to blog. After 2 days of emails, things were straighten out. My guy was a huge help in the class. He learned he enjoyed patiently helping classmates that were having trouble. In fact, in many ways, he knows much more than I do on some computer topics. Following are some ideas to review with you tween or teen on internet safety.
Be a Secret Agent
1. Who’s the enemy?
- People who want to gain your personal information.
- They might want your bank account information.
- They might want to use your computer for an attack.
- They might want to see when you go on vacation so they can break into your house.
2. First Steps: How you can protect you and your family in a few easy ways.
Make sure everything is updated. Your OS — operating system. Your apps. They update for security reasons as well as bug fixes.
Fun Fact: Grace Hopper, Mother of the Computer, called bugs bugs because there was literally a bug in the first computer making it “buggy.”
The remains of the moth can be found in the group’s log book at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Make sure you’re using secured websites. How can you tell? Look in the browser window where it shows what website you’re on. The name of the website is also called the url (Uniform Resource Locator). Look to the left of the url and you should see either http:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or https:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). The s stands for secure, and secure websites are safe to transmit personal data over if you have to fill out forms for example, log in to your school website, or even just stay safe while you’re cruising the net. You’ll notice this site is https:// and very secure.
3. Becoming a Second Level Secret Agent
VPNs are your best friend.
What is a VPN? A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet. To ensure safety, data travels through secure tunnels and VPN users must use authentication methods — including passwords, tokens and other unique identification methods — to gain access to the VPN.
4. How To Search the Web (Almost) Secretly
Use FireFox web browser or app
Companies are making money off of your private information online without your consent. The DuckDuckGo is an internet privacy company that enables you to take control of your personal information online.
Set DuckDuckGo as your search engine in Settings.
DuckDuckGo also just came out with an app. They are crowd funded (and kind of funny).
- Check your browser settings
- Do Not Track
- Block Pop Ups
- Clear your Cache
5. In Closing
- Always ask your parents permission to be on the Internet
- Don’t Wander Into Bad Neighborhoods
- Clear Your Cache
- Don’t Do Anything You Wouldn’t Want To Be Caught At. That kind of makes sense, doesn’t it.