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Category: Online Safety for Kids

Teaching Kids about Privacy Settings

Parents face immense challenges due to continual advancements in technology and easy access to the internet. Mobile applications, daily web surfing, online video games have become the norm within every family. The ever changing social media landscape may be one of the most challenging issues for parents.

What’s hot now can be replaced by a new social media platforms within a short couple of years. In terms of learning, the latest websites or apps can  help young kids in primary school and beyond learn more efficiently while making it exciting.

No matter what kids are doing online, it’s important to revisit education regarding privacy settings on a regular basis.  Here are some points for consideration as parents navigate this topic.

1. Basic Rules for Kids

It is vital to set up some internet rules for your children at home. In order to keep children safe while online, examine the applications and devices which are used by each child and set up privacy tabs and parenting controls.

It is a good idea to sit with your children and teach them how to use the internet for their advantage in order to learn something new. Set up some basic rules for your children according to your household. For example, never to give passwords to anyone.  Whatever you post should not be disturbing and uncomfortable for others to watch.  And remember to get permission before giving any identifying or private information.

2. Explaining the Importance of the Privacy

No child or teen wants to be spied on, so it’s critically important to promote positive communication and explain to them why privacy concerns are so pressing. Ravenous demand for more and more content on social media puts a person under pressure to share something as well. Take time out to communicate with your kids what should and should not be shared because the world outside is watching.

Secondly, remind them to be civilized as their audience or friends might not have privacy settings. Communication about digital privacy is not a one time conversational.  Things change rapidly online and settings must also be reviewed regularly.   Kids need to understand and remember the value of staying safe in the virtual world.

3. Showing Respect

Respect and empathy are some of the basic skills every person should learn in life. While we talk about privacy settings, privacy itself is a fundamental right of each and every individual. Teach your kids to respect the privacy of others around them. It might not be feasible if they share someone’s information without their consent or post a picture without asking them. Teach your children to be careful about using anyone’s electronic device outside your home as well.

4. Using Privacy Settings

It is imperative to learn how to use the privacy settings for yourself first. This can be a challenge if you don’t even use the applications that your kids are using.  If in doubt, just “Google it” for tips and resources about a particular website or app.

While discussing this topic with younger children and teens, read the terms and conditions of a particular social media platform or app.  Do it with them and allow them to set and change their privacy settings during the conversation.   Such as:  the sharing any data, turning off location tracking or the microphone, using a strong password which cannot be copied or easily cracked.

As much as possible, stay away from public Wi-Fi to keep your connections safe. Making sure that the social media profiles of Facebook, Instagram, etc. are private so no one can excess your information.

5. Hire A Tutor

The issue of privacy setting is quite sensitive and complex. There are times when you are not able to teach your children the value of privacy effectively. In that rare scenario, it’s better to encourage teachers in their schools to have an extra session about this topic. If that is not possible, then consider hiring a tutor who can teach kids how to use the internet safely, browsing with them to help them understand the importance of privacy settings inside their home and within in any social surroundings.

Keeping Up with a Digital World

It may seem impossible to keep up with every social media site or app that kids are using these days.  Trust between parent and child, tween or teen is the starting point to keeping lines of communication open.  Ask your kids what apps they are using. This is a good start.  Chances are they are not even on Facebook anymore.  There are so many new and exciting options online and ultimately, young kids and teens will go where their friends are going.  As mentioned, open communication to build trust and a healthy environment within your home will go a long way to aid us all in this ever evolving digital age.

Parents face immense challenges due to continual advancements in technology and easy access to the internet. Mobile applications, daily web surfing, online video games have become the norm within every family. The ever changing social media landscape may be one of the most challenging issues for parents.

What’s hot now can be replaced by a new social media platforms within a short couple of years. In terms of learning, the latest websites or apps can  help young kids in primary school and beyond learn more efficiently while making it exciting.

No matter what kids are doing online, it’s important to revisit education regarding privacy settings on a regular basis.  Here are some points for consideration as parents navigate this topic.

1. Basic Rules for Kids

It is vital to set up some internet rules for your children at home. In order to keep children safe while online, examine the applications and devices which are used by each child and set up privacy tabs and parenting controls.

It is a good idea to sit with your children and teach them how to use the internet for their advantage in order to learn something new. Set up some basic rules for your children according to your household. For example, never to give passwords to anyone.  Whatever you post should not be disturbing and uncomfortable for others to watch.  And remember to get permission before giving any identifying or private information.

2. Explaining the Importance of the Privacy

No child or teen wants to be spied on, so it’s critically important to promote positive communication and explain to them why privacy concerns are so pressing. Ravenous demand for more and more content on social media puts a person under pressure to share something as well. Take time out to communicate with your kids what should and should not be shared because the world outside is watching.

Secondly, remind them to be civilized as their audience or friends might not have privacy settings. Communication about digital privacy is not a one time conversational.  Things change rapidly online and settings must also be reviewed regularly.   Kids need to understand and remember the value of staying safe in the virtual world.

3. Showing Respect

Respect and empathy are some of the basic skills every person should learn in life. While we talk about privacy settings, privacy itself is a fundamental right of each and every individual. Teach your kids to respect the privacy of others around them. It might not be feasible if they share someone’s information without their consent or post a picture without asking them. Teach your children to be careful about using anyone’s electronic device outside your home as well.

4. Using Privacy Settings

It is imperative to learn how to use the privacy settings for yourself first. This can be a challenge if you don’t even use the applications that your kids are using.  If in doubt, just “Google it” for tips and resources about a particular website or app.

While discussing this topic with younger children and teens, read the terms and conditions of a particular social media platform or app.  Do it with them and allow them to set and change their privacy settings during the conversation.   Such as:  the sharing any data, turning off location tracking or the microphone, using a strong password which cannot be copied or easily cracked.

As much as possible, stay away from public Wi-Fi to keep your connections safe. Making sure that the social media profiles of Facebook, Instagram, etc. are private so no one can excess your information.

5. Hire A Tutor

The issue of privacy setting is quite sensitive and complex. There are times when you are not able to teach your children the value of privacy effectively. In that rare scenario, it’s better to encourage teachers in their schools to have an extra session about this topic. If that is not possible, then consider hiring a tutor who can teach kids how to use the internet safely, browsing with them to help them understand the importance of privacy settings inside their home and within in any social surroundings.

Keeping Up with a Digital World

It may seem impossible to keep up with every social media site or app that kids are using these days.  Trust between parent and child, tween or teen is the starting point to keeping lines of communication open.  Ask your kids what apps they are using. This is a good start.  Chances are they are not even on Facebook anymore.  There are so many new and exciting options online and ultimately, young kids and teens will go where their friends are going.  As mentioned, open communication to build trust and a healthy environment within your home will go a long way to aid us all in this ever evolving digital age.

How to Protect Minors in the Internet Age

Safe Kids Online

In the last few years the way we communicate with our loved ones has changed, also how we spend our leisure time. Social networks such as Facebook or Instagram and platforms like YouTube are the big influencers in this new world in which we live in.

Today, many of us spend so many hours in front of screens, whether the reason is watching kitten videos or chatting with our colleagues at work or in class.

These changes in our way of living have not only occurred in adults, but also in many children.  Kids are now spending hours in front of their smartphones or tablets.

However, this sudden change in our society has created a security breach that affects all of us, and minors are not excluded. That’s why parents and guardians must rethink how they are protected, adapting to an ever-evolving technological society.

Therefore, in this article we offer some advice on how to protect minors in the internet era:

  1. Set time limits they are allowed to use their devices.
  2. Check what your children are using their devices for and block unwanted and unsafe websites.
  3. Educate them to use technology in a responsible way and respecting other users on the internet. As it happens in real life, respect for others is key on the internet and for their education.
  4. Make them understand that they should not add or talk to strangers or people they don’t know in real life.
  5. Instruct them not to share any personal information with anyone online. Protecting your privacy is key to all of us, including minors. It is vital teach them that everything they share on the internet will be always there.
  6. Keep an eye on what they post or share on their social networks. Being aware of what they write or talk about on social media is essential to knowing more about them and avoiding future problems
  7. Use safe search websites that block unsuitable content. Safe boundaries allow kids to thrive as they explore the wealth of information on the internet without the usual dangers.
  8. Control the app installations in their devices. There are different app markets which contain huge amounts of apps from different categories. Avoid the download of inappropriate apps based on their content.
  9. Set a daily schedule in which they can use their devices and block their use during the night or in school. The use of devices in class can affect and reduce their school performance, so it’s advisable to block or limit use during school hours.
  10. Use the services of a good parental control program which offers all the features you may need for the protection of your kids.
  11. And last but the most important of all, let them know that they can always count on you for help and support when they might feel in danger.

The security and protection needs for our kids are always changing.  It’s difficult for parents to keep up with new trends in technology, but has never been more important for safety and development.

In the last few years the way we communicate with our loved ones has changed, also how we spend our leisure time. Social networks such as Facebook or Instagram and platforms like YouTube are the big influencers in this new world in which we live in.

Today, many of us spend so many hours in front of screens, whether the reason is watching kitten videos or chatting with our colleagues at work or in class.

These changes in our way of living have not only occurred in adults, but also in many children.  Kids are now spending hours in front of their smartphones or tablets.

However, this sudden change in our society has created a security breach that affects all of us, and minors are not excluded. That’s why parents and guardians must rethink how they are protected, adapting to an ever-evolving technological society.

Therefore, in this article we offer some advice on how to protect minors in the internet era:

  1. Set time limits they are allowed to use their devices.
  2. Check what your children are using their devices for and block unwanted and unsafe websites.
  3. Educate them to use technology in a responsible way and respecting other users on the internet. As it happens in real life, respect for others is key on the internet and for their education.
  4. Make them understand that they should not add or talk to strangers or people they don’t know in real life.
  5. Instruct them not to share any personal information with anyone online. Protecting your privacy is key to all of us, including minors. It is vital teach them that everything they share on the internet will be always there.
  6. Keep an eye on what they post or share on their social networks. Being aware of what they write or talk about on social media is essential to knowing more about them and avoiding future problems
  7. Use safe search websites that block unsuitable content. Safe boundaries allow kids to thrive as they explore the wealth of information on the internet without the usual dangers.
  8. Control the app installations in their devices. There are different app markets which contain huge amounts of apps from different categories. Avoid the download of inappropriate apps based on their content.
  9. Set a daily schedule in which they can use their devices and block their use during the night or in school. The use of devices in class can affect and reduce their school performance, so it’s advisable to block or limit use during school hours.
  10. Use the services of a good parental control program which offers all the features you may need for the protection of your kids.
  11. And last but the most important of all, let them know that they can always count on you for help and support when they might feel in danger.

The security and protection needs for our kids are always changing.  It’s difficult for parents to keep up with new trends in technology, but has never been more important for safety and development.

Zombies Invade the World

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

How to Keep a Closer Eye on Your Kids’ Gaming Activity

Tracking Kids Gaming Activity Online

Contrary to what parents might have thought 30 years ago, video games do not rot the brain — in fact, there are numerous studies showing a link between critical thinking, as well as hand-eye coordination, and video games.

But even with these benefits, the last thing you want is for your child to spend all their time cooped up indoors playing Fortnite. Who knows what they might be purchasing, or worse, who they might be talking to.

Here are ways you can keep a closer eye on your kids’ gaming activity.

Consider a keylogger to monitor their conversations.

It can be hard to know what your kids are talking about and who they are talking to, but a keystroke logger will tell you every single button press your kids make. Just keep in mind that using this for gaming can be confusing, as it will make a log of every keystroke—including your kids using W, S, A, and D to move within the game. You’ll have to navigate through the logs to find when your kids have a conversation with another player in-game.

Use a program like RescueTime or other built-in tools to track how your kids spend time on the computer.

If you aren’t sure how much time your kids spend on the computer—or you suspect they play games when they’re not supposed to—you can use a program that monitors their activity and reports back to you. Some of these programs will allow you to lock certain activities if they extend beyond a certain time period.

If your kids play on console more than computer, never fear. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all have optional parental controls that can be used to limit the amount of time someone spends playing video games on a day-to-day basis. Just make sure your kids don’t learn how to bypass those controls.

Use parental controls to block purchases and transactions.

With so many micro transactions available in games today, it can be hard to stop kids from spending money both deliberately and accidentally. After all, it only takes a few clicks to buy the “Battlepass” on Fortnite, at a cost of $9.99. The same parental controls you use to restrict playtime can also be used to restrict purchases.

If you enable these settings, your kids will not be able to spend any money in the game. No need to worry about becoming one of the parents on the evening news whose kid spends $800 on new skins.

Video games are a fun pastime, and they may even help boost some fine-motor skills. They also allow your kids to socialize with friends without leaving the house. But like everything else, they should be played in moderation. Use these tools to keep an eye on what your kids are up to. You can keep them safe (and protect your wallet) without intruding on them in any noticeable way. They’ll appreciate the illusion of independence while they play games with their friends, and you can rest easy knowing they’re safe on the internet.

Patrick is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity. When he’s not writing, he can be found spending his time with the latest videogame or chasing down the most recent challenges in Fortnite.

Contrary to what parents might have thought 30 years ago, video games do not rot the brain — in fact, there are numerous studies showing a link between critical thinking, as well as hand-eye coordination, and video games.

But even with these benefits, the last thing you want is for your child to spend all their time cooped up indoors playing Fortnite. Who knows what they might be purchasing, or worse, who they might be talking to.

Here are ways you can keep a closer eye on your kids’ gaming activity.

Consider a keylogger to monitor their conversations.

It can be hard to know what your kids are talking about and who they are talking to, but a keystroke logger will tell you every single button press your kids make. Just keep in mind that using this for gaming can be confusing, as it will make a log of every keystroke—including your kids using W, S, A, and D to move within the game. You’ll have to navigate through the logs to find when your kids have a conversation with another player in-game.

Use a program like RescueTime or other built-in tools to track how your kids spend time on the computer.

If you aren’t sure how much time your kids spend on the computer—or you suspect they play games when they’re not supposed to—you can use a program that monitors their activity and reports back to you. Some of these programs will allow you to lock certain activities if they extend beyond a certain time period.

If your kids play on console more than computer, never fear. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all have optional parental controls that can be used to limit the amount of time someone spends playing video games on a day-to-day basis. Just make sure your kids don’t learn how to bypass those controls.

Use parental controls to block purchases and transactions.

With so many micro transactions available in games today, it can be hard to stop kids from spending money both deliberately and accidentally. After all, it only takes a few clicks to buy the “Battlepass” on Fortnite, at a cost of $9.99. The same parental controls you use to restrict playtime can also be used to restrict purchases.

If you enable these settings, your kids will not be able to spend any money in the game. No need to worry about becoming one of the parents on the evening news whose kid spends $800 on new skins.

Video games are a fun pastime, and they may even help boost some fine-motor skills. They also allow your kids to socialize with friends without leaving the house. But like everything else, they should be played in moderation. Use these tools to keep an eye on what your kids are up to. You can keep them safe (and protect your wallet) without intruding on them in any noticeable way. They’ll appreciate the illusion of independence while they play games with their friends, and you can rest easy knowing they’re safe on the internet.

Patrick is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity. When he’s not writing, he can be found spending his time with the latest videogame or chasing down the most recent challenges in Fortnite.

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