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Category: Internet Filtering & Security

5 Tips for Using Your Cell Phone Safely

Tips for Using Your Cell Phone Safety

Cell phones are a major part of our lives, and getting a new phone can be an exciting time. But just when you’re using the internet there are certain things you need to remember to use your cell phone safely. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind.

1. Understand how mobile networks and data work

There’s more than one way to get online with a cell phone: you’ve got your service provider (T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) with its mobile network (usually LTE) and you can also connect to Wi-Fi. Most phones show which one you’re connected to at the top of the screen.

Mobile networks like LTE can have data limits. If you use up all your data for a month, your service might be slowed down or your parents might get an extra charge on their bill. You’re probably on a family plan, which means this data is shared among all the members of your family. Talk to your parents about your data limit and how much you can use each month.

2. Remember you can make emergency calls on other networks

No matter what type of network you’re connected to, you can always use your phone to dial 911 in case of an emergency. You can even dial 911 when you have no signal at all if you’re still in a service area of another network. This is important to remember because emergencies can happen anywhere. If you have an iPhone, you can also call for help by holding down the side button (iPhone 8 or later) or pressing it five times (iPhone 7 or earlier).

3. Don’t answer calls or texts from numbers you don’t know

Scam phone calls have become really common in the last couple years. Some phones, like the iPhone, sometimes show “Scam Likely” on the caller ID if this happens. But it’s a good idea to ignore calls and texts from any number you don’t recognize. To make sure you don’t miss an important call, add your friends and family to your contacts so you know who’s calling before you answer. 

4. Never send photos or videos to someone you don’t know

Instead of trying to scam or steal personal information, strangers might ask you for photos or videos of yourself. The person may pretend to be someone you know. Never send photos of yourself to numbers you don’t recognize. This also goes for people on Snapchat or Instagram or other apps. If someone is asking for pictures or videos, take a screenshot and show your parents.

5. Talk to an adult about whatever makes you uncomfortable

If you come across something in an app or online that seems strange or makes you feel uncomfortable, discuss it with your parents or an adult you trust. This might sound scary, but they want you to be safe while using the internet, and they can explain what you’re seeing and give you advice for dealing with it in the future. And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Cell phones are exciting, but they can also be overwhelming. They give us access to a world of information and entertainment. If you have questions about using your phone or anything you find online, make sure to talk to your parents. They can give you advice on how they use their phones and how to stay safe with yours.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.

Cell phones are a major part of our lives, and getting a new phone can be an exciting time. But just when you’re using the internet there are certain things you need to remember to use your cell phone safely. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind.

1. Understand how mobile networks and data work

There’s more than one way to get online with a cell phone: you’ve got your service provider (T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) with its mobile network (usually LTE) and you can also connect to Wi-Fi. Most phones show which one you’re connected to at the top of the screen.

Mobile networks like LTE can have data limits. If you use up all your data for a month, your service might be slowed down or your parents might get an extra charge on their bill. You’re probably on a family plan, which means this data is shared among all the members of your family. Talk to your parents about your data limit and how much you can use each month.

2. Remember you can make emergency calls on other networks

No matter what type of network you’re connected to, you can always use your phone to dial 911 in case of an emergency. You can even dial 911 when you have no signal at all if you’re still in a service area of another network. This is important to remember because emergencies can happen anywhere. If you have an iPhone, you can also call for help by holding down the side button (iPhone 8 or later) or pressing it five times (iPhone 7 or earlier).

3. Don’t answer calls or texts from numbers you don’t know

Scam phone calls have become really common in the last couple years. Some phones, like the iPhone, sometimes show “Scam Likely” on the caller ID if this happens. But it’s a good idea to ignore calls and texts from any number you don’t recognize. To make sure you don’t miss an important call, add your friends and family to your contacts so you know who’s calling before you answer. 

4. Never send photos or videos to someone you don’t know

Instead of trying to scam or steal personal information, strangers might ask you for photos or videos of yourself. The person may pretend to be someone you know. Never send photos of yourself to numbers you don’t recognize. This also goes for people on Snapchat or Instagram or other apps. If someone is asking for pictures or videos, take a screenshot and show your parents.

5. Talk to an adult about whatever makes you uncomfortable

If you come across something in an app or online that seems strange or makes you feel uncomfortable, discuss it with your parents or an adult you trust. This might sound scary, but they want you to be safe while using the internet, and they can explain what you’re seeing and give you advice for dealing with it in the future. And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Cell phones are exciting, but they can also be overwhelming. They give us access to a world of information and entertainment. If you have questions about using your phone or anything you find online, make sure to talk to your parents. They can give you advice on how they use their phones and how to stay safe with yours.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.

How To Protect Your Computer at Risk

How to Protect Your Computer

Let’s be real here: our computers are our lifelines. We work with them. We order things with them. We use them for entertainment. Our phones, tablets, and even iPods are all computers to their core. Our lives are very much revolve around computers. It would be hard to go a full day without them.

If a virus or malware hits your computers, it will be a major hassle to clean and secure your files. Of course, that is if you’re lucky to catch the problem in time. In some cases, your whole computer may be fried with no hope of retrieving any lost data. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are ways to protect your computer from the nightmare of spam, viruses, and malware. Common sense goes a long way in preventing the worst from happening. But taking care of a computer doesn’t always have to be a lot of work. It’s much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to save your computer from utter disaster.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs

The installation of a reliable anti-virus program cannot be stressed enough, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You should also install a program that specializes in scanning for removing malware. These programs can regularly do a deep scan and clean of your entire computer.

Be careful when installing virus protection and malware cleaners. Some of them are legitimate while others will make the problem even worse. How can you tell you are getting a good program to protect your computer? Do your homework. It doesn’t take much to get on Google to check out which programs are recommended by reputable websites.

Anti-Virus typically focuses on protecting your email. Anti-malware programs are better at block malicious websites you visit or block external attacks.

Ad blocker is your friend!

Blocking pop-up ads will cut down on the chances of being a victim of computer infections, including ransomware. Ransomware is a nasty program that will hold your computer hostage until you pay up.

Pop-up blockers will lessen the chances of getting all sorts of malware or viruses. As well, your web surfing experience will much smoother. The browser you are using will probably have an ad blocker but you’ll need to activate it.

Back up everything!

In case your computer crashes for any reason, make sure everything backed up. Cloud backup programs have made this much easier. External hard drives are also good for backing up files, whether you set it up automatically or do it manually every once in a while. There is nothing worse than losing your treasured pics and videos when it doesn’t take much effort to copy them to another device.

Having a strong password will help too. Not having a password is like leaving your front door wide open. It’s not wise to have a weak password either. Some sites will require at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol to be strong. However, many accounts your sign up for are not so picky. Choose a unique password for each of your accounts.

Keep all software up to date.

Out-of-date software is an invitation for malware and viruses. Within all of your computer programs, select “automatic updates” and you won’t have to worry about it. This includes your computer operating systems, whether it be Windows, Mac or any tablet.

For additional protection, a VPN might be a good way to go too. More people are looking for a secure way to enjoy their time on the internet. This will keep out spying eyes for sure. It does not take more to look up how to install a VPN either. Again, just be careful to look for a legitimate VPN system that will not mess up a computer.

Use Comment Sense. In all your online activities, don’t rely on a software program to do all the word for you. If an email looks suspicious, don’t click the link or open the attachment. Delete it right away. If a website doesn’t look right, close your browser and don’t visit the site again.

Let’s be real here: our computers are our lifelines. We work with them. We order things with them. We use them for entertainment. Our phones, tablets, and even iPods are all computers to their core. Our lives are very much revolve around computers. It would be hard to go a full day without them.

If a virus or malware hits your computers, it will be a major hassle to clean and secure your files. Of course, that is if you’re lucky to catch the problem in time. In some cases, your whole computer may be fried with no hope of retrieving any lost data. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are ways to protect your computer from the nightmare of spam, viruses, and malware. Common sense goes a long way in preventing the worst from happening. But taking care of a computer doesn’t always have to be a lot of work. It’s much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to save your computer from utter disaster.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs

The installation of a reliable anti-virus program cannot be stressed enough, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You should also install a program that specializes in scanning for removing malware. These programs can regularly do a deep scan and clean of your entire computer.

Be careful when installing virus protection and malware cleaners. Some of them are legitimate while others will make the problem even worse. How can you tell you are getting a good program to protect your computer? Do your homework. It doesn’t take much to get on Google to check out which programs are recommended by reputable websites.

Anti-Virus typically focuses on protecting your email. Anti-malware programs are better at block malicious websites you visit or block external attacks.

Ad blocker is your friend!

Blocking pop-up ads will cut down on the chances of being a victim of computer infections, including ransomware. Ransomware is a nasty program that will hold your computer hostage until you pay up.

Pop-up blockers will lessen the chances of getting all sorts of malware or viruses. As well, your web surfing experience will much smoother. The browser you are using will probably have an ad blocker but you’ll need to activate it.

Back up everything!

In case your computer crashes for any reason, make sure everything backed up. Cloud backup programs have made this much easier. External hard drives are also good for backing up files, whether you set it up automatically or do it manually every once in a while. There is nothing worse than losing your treasured pics and videos when it doesn’t take much effort to copy them to another device.

Having a strong password will help too. Not having a password is like leaving your front door wide open. It’s not wise to have a weak password either. Some sites will require at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol to be strong. However, many accounts your sign up for are not so picky. Choose a unique password for each of your accounts.

Keep all software up to date.

Out-of-date software is an invitation for malware and viruses. Within all of your computer programs, select “automatic updates” and you won’t have to worry about it. This includes your computer operating systems, whether it be Windows, Mac or any tablet.

For additional protection, a VPN might be a good way to go too. More people are looking for a secure way to enjoy their time on the internet. This will keep out spying eyes for sure. It does not take more to look up how to install a VPN either. Again, just be careful to look for a legitimate VPN system that will not mess up a computer.

Use Comment Sense. In all your online activities, don’t rely on a software program to do all the word for you. If an email looks suspicious, don’t click the link or open the attachment. Delete it right away. If a website doesn’t look right, close your browser and don’t visit the site again.

Tips to Protect your Family from Identity Theft

protecting-your family from identity theft

In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States – a record high, according to a study by Javelin researchers. Children fall among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft due to the existence of so many points of entry.

These access points include tablets, mobile phones, computers, and good old-fashioned home break-ins. As a result, protecting your family from a security breach can feel overwhelming.

However, there are ways to reduce risk and increase identity theft protection. Use the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Use long, random passphrases

Unless your password is a random set of letters, numbers, and characters, it’s easier to crack than you might think.

To reduce your chances of a security breach, keep the following tips in mind:

Create a long passphrase.

Don’t write passwords on notes near your computer.

Don’t use identical passwords across multiple accounts.

Don’t use words or numbers that are significant to you.

Fraudsters scan public profiles for personal information and identifying details to try to crack passwords. That’s why it’s important not to use things like birth dates, pet names, or details about your kids in your passwords. Especially for the most important online accounts, such as your bank, insurance, or home Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to create secure passwords is to use random (meaningless) phrases mixed with numbers and symbols (e.g., Fox8thegiAntsandwich!).

Because it’s difficult to keep track of multiple random passwords, consider using a dedicated password manager to generate and save secure passwords. That way all your passwords are truly random and saved in a secure location.

2. Be careful using smart speakers and other automated toys

The Internet of Things and smart tech have created a more connected world than ever before. In fact, even some children’s toys can now connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, not all smart tech is secure.

Several toy manufacturers have come under fire in the past few years for having inadequate security and, in some cases, data breaches that put millions of children’s personal information at risk.

If you decide to buy a smart toy, do your research ahead of time. One important thing to look for is where the data is stored. If data is stored directly on the toy, the risk should be relatively small. If the data is sent to a server, it could be stolen by hackers who eventually use the information for credit card fraud or identity theft. 

Play it safe by inputting only false info (e.g., fake birth dates and pseudonyms), or consider forgoing smart toys altogether.

3. Upgrade your home security

The digital world isn’t the only place your family is at risk. The home is often where identity theft begins. Burglars aren’t just looking for fancy jewelry or TVs—personal information can be much more valuable.

Always keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other sensitive records in a locked safe or file cabinet. And be extra cautious during high-risk periods when thieves are more active, such as over holidays—never share your vacation plans publicly until after you’ve returned home.

Also, think about investing in a home security system so you can keep tabs on your property while you’re away and protect your family 24/7.

4. Monitor and freeze your child’s credit

Children are likely targets for identity theft because they have clean credit and the theft is likely to go undetected for years until the child is older. By this time, the damage is done, making it difficult for the child to apply for credit, get school loans, and pursue job opportunities.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent credit fraud. One of the best ways is credit monitoring to keep tabs on your child’s credit. If you notice any bank loans, credit card applications, or other activity, your child’s identity has likely been compromised and you need to take immediate action and report the fraud.

You can also go one step further to prepare and freeze your child’s credit until they’re older. A credit freeze limits access to your child’s credit file, making it harder for would-be thieves to open accounts in your child’s name.

5. Talk to your kids about internet safety

Once your child can use their own digital devices, they’re at a greater risk of a security breach. Talk to your children early and often about how to stay safe on the internet. Teach them to avoid sharing personal information (such as full names, birth dates, addresses, or school names), talking to strangers online, and making online purchases without your permission.

By limiting how much information you share online, you can protect your family from child identity theft, credit fraud, or worse.

As the world becomes more connected, thieves and fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of you and your family. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your children for years to come.

By Andrea Harvey

In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States – a record high, according to a study by Javelin researchers. Children fall among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft due to the existence of so many points of entry.

These access points include tablets, mobile phones, computers, and good old-fashioned home break-ins. As a result, protecting your family from a security breach can feel overwhelming.

However, there are ways to reduce risk and increase identity theft protection. Use the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Use long, random passphrases

Unless your password is a random set of letters, numbers, and characters, it’s easier to crack than you might think.

To reduce your chances of a security breach, keep the following tips in mind:

Create a long passphrase.

Don’t write passwords on notes near your computer.

Don’t use identical passwords across multiple accounts.

Don’t use words or numbers that are significant to you.

Fraudsters scan public profiles for personal information and identifying details to try to crack passwords. That’s why it’s important not to use things like birth dates, pet names, or details about your kids in your passwords. Especially for the most important online accounts, such as your bank, insurance, or home Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to create secure passwords is to use random (meaningless) phrases mixed with numbers and symbols (e.g., Fox8thegiAntsandwich!).

Because it’s difficult to keep track of multiple random passwords, consider using a dedicated password manager to generate and save secure passwords. That way all your passwords are truly random and saved in a secure location.

2. Be careful using smart speakers and other automated toys

The Internet of Things and smart tech have created a more connected world than ever before. In fact, even some children’s toys can now connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, not all smart tech is secure.

Several toy manufacturers have come under fire in the past few years for having inadequate security and, in some cases, data breaches that put millions of children’s personal information at risk.

If you decide to buy a smart toy, do your research ahead of time. One important thing to look for is where the data is stored. If data is stored directly on the toy, the risk should be relatively small. If the data is sent to a server, it could be stolen by hackers who eventually use the information for credit card fraud or identity theft. 

Play it safe by inputting only false info (e.g., fake birth dates and pseudonyms), or consider forgoing smart toys altogether.

3. Upgrade your home security

The digital world isn’t the only place your family is at risk. The home is often where identity theft begins. Burglars aren’t just looking for fancy jewelry or TVs—personal information can be much more valuable.

Always keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other sensitive records in a locked safe or file cabinet. And be extra cautious during high-risk periods when thieves are more active, such as over holidays—never share your vacation plans publicly until after you’ve returned home.

Also, think about investing in a home security system so you can keep tabs on your property while you’re away and protect your family 24/7.

4. Monitor and freeze your child’s credit

Children are likely targets for identity theft because they have clean credit and the theft is likely to go undetected for years until the child is older. By this time, the damage is done, making it difficult for the child to apply for credit, get school loans, and pursue job opportunities.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent credit fraud. One of the best ways is credit monitoring to keep tabs on your child’s credit. If you notice any bank loans, credit card applications, or other activity, your child’s identity has likely been compromised and you need to take immediate action and report the fraud.

You can also go one step further to prepare and freeze your child’s credit until they’re older. A credit freeze limits access to your child’s credit file, making it harder for would-be thieves to open accounts in your child’s name.

5. Talk to your kids about internet safety

Once your child can use their own digital devices, they’re at a greater risk of a security breach. Talk to your children early and often about how to stay safe on the internet. Teach them to avoid sharing personal information (such as full names, birth dates, addresses, or school names), talking to strangers online, and making online purchases without your permission.

By limiting how much information you share online, you can protect your family from child identity theft, credit fraud, or worse.

As the world becomes more connected, thieves and fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of you and your family. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your children for years to come.

By Andrea Harvey

How to Track Your Child’s Text Messages

How to Track Text Messages

Many facets of parenting have certainly changed over the years. On one hand, children are increasingly preoccupied with their smartphones and this includes having direct contact with friends at all hours. On the positive side, cellphones allow parents to keep in constant contact with their kids no matter where they are.

With great tools for learning and communication comes added responsibility for the child and parents. It’s important to have regular conversations in order to keep the relationship open. This builds trust on both sides. However, the younger a child is, the more a parent may feel the need to monitor their child’s computer activity. This has become standard practice for good parenting, but what about phone use?

Now it’s possible to read someone’s text messages without accessing that person’s phone and it’s free of charge. Cocospy has one of the best free text message tracking software on the planet. To be able to track your child’s text messages you should;

Create a free account

It is good to know that before you can be able to enjoy the tracking services of this fantastic tracking app, you need to secure an account. That is because; your account will allow you back-end access to your tracking dashboard where you can view various options and set up you tracking according to your needs. When signing up for cocospy, you are only required to provide necessary personal information, password, and then you are good to go.

Download the app

After signing up for a cocospy, you can now download the cocospy app and access it. The reason why you will want to make sure that you download the app is that it is the only way through which you can be able to get the tracking link. Remember that cocospy does not need you to download the app or install it on the target phone. What happens is that after you have entered the required details about the targeted phone, you are provided with a unique text tracking link to be used on the target phone.

By clicking the link, you shall have initiated the tracking process. It is therefore recommended that after installing the tracker using the link, you get rid of the text message because the user might be able to use it to access the tracker which can result in misleading information.

Get to tracking

After signing up for an account and activating your tracking, you should be able to see all the incoming and outgoing text messages. You need to know that you can regulate how often you need the message updates. However, you should understand that the higher the update rates, the more battery power your phone will consume because it means that the app will be running most of the time.

Other benefits of text message tracking

Other than tracking what your children are chatting about, text message tracking can be used for different things. However, it is imperative to ensure that before you monitor someone’s message to ensure that you are not breaking the law. Text message tracking has been used by couples who are extra protective and would do anything to ensure that their relationship is built on trust.

Also, some employers have been using text message tracking software to monitor their employees. Remember that there is some top secret information that should never be shared with your competitor.

tracking text messages

However, some employees cannot resist a little bribe; hence, it is better not to take chances or else; you may risk shutting down your business. However, tracking your employees are only allowed in countries where the law agrees,

Trust

Children text a lot compared to how much they call each other, that is why you always need to ensure that you know everyone they chat to and what they are talking about. The good thing is that these kids only text their closest friends and people you trust; hence, it is much easier to tell the kind of things that they take much interest in. It is also good to know that text messaging still exposes the young one to more serious risks like predators and cyberbullying.

However, by tracking their chats, you should be able to stop any suspicious activity at the beginning. Remember that cyberbullying, and child predators need enough time before they can become full-blown, and the results start showing.

Many facets of parenting have certainly changed over the years. On one hand, children are increasingly preoccupied with their smartphones and this includes having direct contact with friends at all hours. On the positive side, cellphones allow parents to keep in constant contact with their kids no matter where they are.

With great tools for learning and communication comes added responsibility for the child and parents. It’s important to have regular conversations in order to keep the relationship open. This builds trust on both sides. However, the younger a child is, the more a parent may feel the need to monitor their child’s computer activity. This has become standard practice for good parenting, but what about phone use?

Now it’s possible to read someone’s text messages without accessing that person’s phone and it’s free of charge. Cocospy has one of the best free text message tracking software on the planet. To be able to track your child’s text messages you should;

Create a free account

It is good to know that before you can be able to enjoy the tracking services of this fantastic tracking app, you need to secure an account. That is because; your account will allow you back-end access to your tracking dashboard where you can view various options and set up you tracking according to your needs. When signing up for cocospy, you are only required to provide necessary personal information, password, and then you are good to go.

Download the app

After signing up for a cocospy, you can now download the cocospy app and access it. The reason why you will want to make sure that you download the app is that it is the only way through which you can be able to get the tracking link. Remember that cocospy does not need you to download the app or install it on the target phone. What happens is that after you have entered the required details about the targeted phone, you are provided with a unique text tracking link to be used on the target phone.

By clicking the link, you shall have initiated the tracking process. It is therefore recommended that after installing the tracker using the link, you get rid of the text message because the user might be able to use it to access the tracker which can result in misleading information.

Get to tracking

After signing up for an account and activating your tracking, you should be able to see all the incoming and outgoing text messages. You need to know that you can regulate how often you need the message updates. However, you should understand that the higher the update rates, the more battery power your phone will consume because it means that the app will be running most of the time.

Other benefits of text message tracking

Other than tracking what your children are chatting about, text message tracking can be used for different things. However, it is imperative to ensure that before you monitor someone’s message to ensure that you are not breaking the law. Text message tracking has been used by couples who are extra protective and would do anything to ensure that their relationship is built on trust.

Also, some employers have been using text message tracking software to monitor their employees. Remember that there is some top secret information that should never be shared with your competitor.

tracking text messages

However, some employees cannot resist a little bribe; hence, it is better not to take chances or else; you may risk shutting down your business. However, tracking your employees are only allowed in countries where the law agrees,

Trust

Children text a lot compared to how much they call each other, that is why you always need to ensure that you know everyone they chat to and what they are talking about. The good thing is that these kids only text their closest friends and people you trust; hence, it is much easier to tell the kind of things that they take much interest in. It is also good to know that text messaging still exposes the young one to more serious risks like predators and cyberbullying.

However, by tracking their chats, you should be able to stop any suspicious activity at the beginning. Remember that cyberbullying, and child predators need enough time before they can become full-blown, and the results start showing.