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Take precautions: child-safe Internet

Our children grow up with computers, smartphones and the Internet as if everything could be taken for granted. As with the selection of suitable TV programmes, here too it is the parents' responsibility to look out for suitable content and to recognise and prevent any hazards.

Advice on safe surfing for and with children is provided by Jugenschutz.net for example, including the following advice for parents:

  • At the beginning, surf the web together with your child.
  • Teach the most important security advice, e.g.  don't disclose data!
  • Agree what your child is allowed to do on the Internet and what he or she is not allowed to do.
  • Do not install the PC with an Internet connection in the children's room.
  • Tell your child explicitly that it must come to you if there are any problems.
  • Enable security settings and also install filters.

On a regular basis check whether your child is sticking to the agreements made and make sure the computer being used is free of malware!

The fascination of Web 2.0

If you yourself have not had any experience of services such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc., your kids will catch up for you shortly. Platforms like these attract children as if by magic: an opportunity to share experiences with others in many different ways "undisturbed" and discover one's own virtual identity is fascinating for children, and useful – if the children stick to a few simple rules:

  • Facebook etc. are not really free – in return for free use, the services provided gain access to your data. That also means that everything you like, post or upload also belongs to the platforms or additional services from then on. 
  • Not every link that you receive from friends or friends of friends or strangers is good and safe: many viruses spread due to the fact that links are sent to prepared websites via hacked Facebook accounts. In such cases it is sufficient to click on a link in order to fall victim to a computer virus. Always apply a healthy portion of common sense and remember that everything that looks too good to be true is usually neither good nor true …
  • Even if your privacy settings on Facebook are such that only your friends are allowed to see what you post, it often happens that Facebook itself changes those settings – or a computer virus such as Koobface automatically alters the settings in such a way that everyone can see and read everything – logically, that also applies to all pictures and videos you upload! On Facebook or in any other social networks never disclose more than you would disclose to someone in the street, at school, on the playground or at a party. Every time you post something and with every picture you upload consider whether you would be anxious if someone else apart from your friends would see or read it. Also bear in mind that not all your friends at the moment will also be your friends in 5 years' time.

Online chats, etc.

Messengers, chats and forums are often misused to launch phishing attacks or distribute contaminated files. On account of various promises, unsuspecting users are often encouraged to call up a certain web address, via which the computer becomes infected with malware. 

Therefore explain to your children that invitations to become friends from strangers often conceal evil intentions and must always be viewed critically! 

Child locks for the Internet

So-called child locks not only make it possible to specify certain times at which the child is allowed to be online but also make it possible to filter content that may be accessed by surfing. The setting options are flexible – certain types of content can be prohibited or allowed, or individual sites can be selected manually. Of course, there is no 100% security here either.

Also bear in mind that these child locks do not provide protection against viruses, Trojans, spyware or other attacks.

  • On a regular basis, check which services are being used by your children and which ones they would like to use. You will be surprised to see with what diversity of programs, services and content children on the web are confronted.
  • Regard it as an opportunity and challenge to remain up to date and "grow" on the web together with your children.
  • Look out for the recommended age limits and any age limits regulated by terms and conditions of use: to be able to use many popular services there is a minimum age (Facebook, for example, specifies an age of 13 in its terms and conditions of use). 
  • Please also remember that once a system has become infected may possibly be completely controlled by assailants. That is, an assailant can, with the aid of a Trojan, do and carry out exactly the same things on that system as the user would on his or her own PC. Therefore, even if the child lock is enabled, check the computer of your offspring at regular intervals for malware infections.
  • If you're not sure, do not hesitate to ask for advice and help from friends or acquaintances who have appropriate expertise. It is no disgrace to ask for assistance - after all, it involves the safety of your children!
© 2017 IKARUS Security Software GmbH