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Making Your Laptops Kid-Safe

Making Your Laptops Kid-Safe

Using mobile devices is popular with virtually every age group, but kids are also using desktops and laptops more than ever. However, any type of computing is not without its dangers. Maintaining security is crucial for anyone who uses a computer or mobile device that connects to the Internet. Online safety involves keeping personal information secure with antivirus software as well as parental supervision and controls on online activity.

Basic Online Safety

Maintaining anonymity online is the best way to stay safe while using the Internet. Instruct kids to keep private information such as their full name, address, phone number, Social Security number, banking information, passwords, and photos offline as much as possible. Use the privacy settings on Web browsers and websites to protect personal information, and avoid unscrupulous websites designed to capture personal information.
Always choose strong passwords that include uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Make rules about what's appropriate to post on social media, and check kids' social media activity regularly to make sure that all is well. Tell kids to ask for guidance first if they're ever unsure about whether it's safe or appropriate to post something.

Viruses

Think of a computer virus as similar to a human virus that passes from person to person by sneezes and coughs. Viruses are bits of malicious code that are inserted into documents or programs. Once these files are installed on a computer, the code can execute to harm the computer system by corrupting systems or destroying data. Computer viruses spread via text message and email attachments, by Internet downloads, and by scam links found on websites and social media platforms.
To avoid viruses, always browse the Internet cautiously. Avoid sketchy websites, don't download files or click unknown links, and don't open attachments unless you're sure about the sender and the contents. A desktop or laptop might be infected with a computer virus if it suddenly begins operating erratically or slowly, if it starts crashing, or if you have an unexplained loss of data.

Antivirus Programs

Antivirus software is software that you install on your computer that scans all incoming files to block harmful ones. Antivirus software has to be continually updated and upgraded by manufacturers so it stays up to date with current threats. When files and programs contain code that match these threats, the software blocks, isolates, and removes the harmful files and programs so they can't damage the computer.
Antivirus software also includes a scanning process that will examine all of the files on a computer to find harmful ones. Users need to set up a scanning schedule so it will run regularly. It's also possible to run a manual scan if a computer suddenly begins acting erratically.

Online Identity Protection

Following online safety rules helps protect you from identity theft, which might involve compromising personal information such as your driver's license number, your Social Security number, or banking information. Always use strong passwords, don't use the same password for multiple websites and platforms, and use two-factor authentication when possible. Use a password manager to keep track of passwords. Set privacy settings to the most stringent level, and avoid allowing other websites to sign you in using your social media credentials. If you no longer use online accounts, close them.
Phishing emails and text messages may try to deceive you into sharing personal information. Always ignore and delete these messages: Never click links sent to you. It's also a good idea to avoid sharing too much information on social media platforms. Teach kids to limit the amount of details and information they share, too.

Resources

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