Internet Safety for the Whole Family with Guest Blogger Robert!

This month, we are talking all things safety for you and your family. You may be wondering why I have departed from my usually nutrition and wellness topics. Well, for starters I am married to a Computer Guy. Robert has worked in this field for over 10 years and knows his stuff, which includes everything from setting up secure Wi-Fi to protecting your family online.

Note: you may be thinking that it is too early to discuss Internet safety with my toddler or young kids. Consider this, today’s children will be the first generation to not know life before computers, Internet, tablets, cell phones, etc. Crazy, right? Much like we teach young children about “stranger danger” it is important to teach kids about computers and the purpose they serve in our lives.

Bean on the computer Make Rules:

Some questions to ask yourself and family when making rules for computer or other device usage:

Will there be one main computer or electronic device for family use?

How many hours per day can the computer or electronic devices be used for?

Make sure that your children understand the rules and have them posted where the whole family can see them. Also, keep in mind that having an open dialog with kids is important to truly understand how they are spending their time on computers and other devices. This will also help you apply rules that will be best for everyone.

For additional info on setting rules for computers, check out Basic Internet Safety for Parents. 

Hunter and Ipad

Parental Controls:

Most computers and other devices come with parental controls that allow you to restrict usage, set time limits, or block out websites. This is not a 100% full proof and can be overridden. However, they are good starting point.

For additional info on parental controls, check out The Best Free Parental Controls Software.

 Firewall, Cameras, and Online Security:

There is often another way we leave ourselves vulnerable and it can give people direct access to our families. Computers and modems can be used to access our families by opening up ports that allows them access to our personal information and even gain access to the camera on the computer. It can often be difficult to know if someone has gained access to your camera as they can often do so without the light turning on. There have even been incidences of people gaining access to baby monitors (set up on Wi-Fi) and talking to babies or other children.

It is scary and there are ways to protect your family.

Make sure your firewall is enabled on your computer and modems. This feature is usually done automatically for you. However, sometimes the firewall will block out website, so people will disable it to gain access. Check your settings to ensure the firewall is enabled.

Another great tool for protecting your Wi-Fi network is to make it password protected. Choose a password that has a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. It may not be as easy to remember as password, but it will keep your network safe.

There is also a setting in your router called WPA2, which is a stronger encryption method that improves wireless traffic. This can be access when setting up your router.

Another important way to protect your family is with anti-virus software, which will help keep your computer free of viruses. Often times, once the virus has been downloaded you may not notice it right away, so the software will be there to catch it.

Most viruses are downloaded accidentally when people are browsing online or through links sent in emails. This can happen if your friend’s email is hacked and they send you an email with a link in it. Check with your friend or family member before clicking on links, if it seems suspicious to you. Also, teach your kids about how to avoid viruses, as they get older. Lastly, setting up 2-step verification on your email accounts will protect you from getting hacked.

For additional information on protecting your personal information, check out the Google Safe Center.

 Stranger Danger Online

The Internet can be a wonderful tool that can bring people together. However, it can also be one that brings less than ideal people together. Much like you teaching your kids about what to do if they are approached by a stranger in person, you also need to teach them about strangers online. This is best done in an age appropriate way and may not be a conversation until your child is older. There are many resources to help you find the right words when talking to your children.

Things to cover: “Friending” people (they know or not), status updates (appropriate vs. not appropriate), posting pics, and helping them understand how anything posted online is owned by that website (and might be accessed by potential employers or colleges).

Krystal and Ita Be an Example.

Okay, don’t hate me. I think we can all agree that kids are little sponges… And they often watch adults to learn bout the world and for social cues. The best way to have your children have a healthy and safe relationship with electronic devices is for you to model it. If don’t want them on their cell phones at the table lput yours away too.

It can seem overwhelming, daunting, and a little scary when it comes to safety with computers and other devices. However, with a little time, patience, and maybe additional education you can make your home safe against the outside world and help your kids develop healthy relationships with computers.

Hunter and Ipad

How do your protect your family with computers? Do you let you kids use electronic devices? Questions for Robert? Post it below!

Kids and Computers,

Robert and Heidi


Source: Keep Your Kids Safe

I am a Nutritionist and Blogger who is not known for her plating of food or photo skills. I love to empower people to live the busy lives they have created, while being healthy, happy, and hopefully at their best every day.
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