3 Internet Habits to Keep Kids Safe and Smart

habitsCan you make the Internet a safer place for kids? All parents what their children to be happy and protected while they are online, it is a common concern. It is somewhat easy to manage and watch the younger kids while they are staring happily at the Disney Jr. website. However, the risks increase significantly as children get older and become more independent.

You have most likely heard of the term ‘cyber safety’ a time or two before, but safe usage of the Internet goes past warning them about strangers. The focus now needs to be on ingrained habits due to the evolution of the Internet and the way it is intertwined into our lives. This means making sure your kids have the predefined responses to online events and tools so that no matter the events, they are not placing themselves, or your family, at risk. Forming these habits are easy and begin with three basic principles:

downloadDownloads are a no-go

Most of our children cannot tell the difference between a scam/malicious link and a legitimate download. It is not the fault of the children, the world online is full of stuff that will trick even the most tech savvy adult. The difference between a savvy adult and a kid, is that kids tend to not take the time to check where the link is pointing, read what they are agreeing to, or even question if it is too good to be true. Most kids want to get back to playing their game or doing whatever it was they were doing, and if something pops up or appears on the screen, their first response is usually to click “yes” or “ok” just so it goes away. Regretfully, that single click of “yes” or “ok” may just open the doors to malware and viruses that can ruin a computer. Parents or guardians should set a rule that they need permission from you for all downloads and that they should never click on a popup. When the child calls you over to give the download permission, or to check that popup, talk the child through exactly what you are checking and why. As those children mature, get them active in the process so they form safe habits that extend outside the home and their computer.

critical thinkingCritical thinking is a must

Most young people can’t imagine life without the Internet and look to it as a magical place. To kids, the Internet is as important as oxygen! With the kids believing this comes their unwavering trust that the web would never trick them, lie to them or hurt them. While most adults know better, it is only because adults already view the web with a certain level of distrust. The absolute best way to keep children safe on the Internet is to teach them to approach it with critical thinking. And this critical thinking includes teaching them to question the motives of other people online. Is that person they are gaming with really a kid? What does the person really want? Regretfully, all children need to be aware that predators use the web to lure and target kids. Make sure your kids tell you immediately if a stranger makes contact with them. Along with this old fashion stranger danger, you will need to teach them to identify what marks something as suspect and what they should avoid. If the children come across anything inappropriate, they should shut down the computer and come straight to you.

foreverThe internet is forever

Children have an overwhelming drive to contribute to the web and they do not think twice about making videos, chatting in a chat room or posting on social media. The Internet really has become the new playground for kid! What they often don’t understand until it is too late, is that anything they upload, post, write or say is on the web forever. Even if they delete the upload or post from social media, or whatever, someone can still screenshot and send it right back out for others to see. Many of today’s cyber-bullying cases are based around this exact type of activity. Once children understand that everything they place on the web is permanent, they will more likely pause and think about what they are about to do.

If you need help protecting your children and keeping your family safe while online, contact Brochin.net.

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Why Spam is a Home and Small Business Nightmare

spamWe are still struggling with overloaded inboxes, 15 years after the world came together to smack down spam emails. The impact is wider that one may think, much of it impacting small business, and all the unwanted email continues to flood through from the internet to inboxes. In this post we will provide a full breakdown of how modern spam works and how it will hurt your home and business.

Let us start by explaining what spam is. In general, spam is an unwanted message that ends up in your email. Spam can come in the forms of social media messaging, text, or other communication methods. Spam may be sent to your main email or business account, i.e. your “support” or “contact us” email address. It can even be sent directly to employees of a business. Most times spam is just an annoying, but innocent messages, from other business asking you to see/buy/do something. They can be in the form of reminders, invitations, sales pitches, newsletters, etc. There is a possibility that you know the sender from a previous relationship, or they may be a complete stranger you have never heard of. On some occasions, spam can even be a form of a cyber attack.

Why are you getting spammed?

Maybe your employees’, or you for that matter, signed up for a newsletter or entered a contest online. Perhaps you triggered this spam avalanche by simply signing up for a brochure and ended up on the mailing list by accident after requesting it. There is often real fine print that says they will use your details to send you offers and other marketing. In some cases they will state that your details will be shared with 3rd parties so they too can send you messages. Before you know it you are buried under a pile of spam from that one little email address being passed around the Internet like wildfire. Like the recent LinkedIn leak, your details could be found illicitly through a hacked website. It happens more often than you think. However, more often tan not, a computer scouring websites and forums for plain text and linked emails, will scrap them and sell them as excellent spam targets. It is very easy to see how individuals can receive numerous emails a day. Office employees receive an average of 120 emails daily. over half of which are spam.


Spam is more than annoying

Spam is annoying, but most do not know that it is also resource hungry. People can spend hours each week assessing and sorting email for the relevance and then deleting the spam. Legitimate emails from family, friends, clients and customers can get caught up in this sorting and assessing and accidentally deleted. If you add in that people sometimes stop and read the more interesting spam and the work productivity can drop to zero. On the business side of things, your email server is dedicating valuable processing power and storage to handling these spam emails, occasionally it gets to the point where inboxes are full and good email gets bounced out. Spam is sometimes not just simply unwanted sales pitches or newsletters, but can also contain links that are used for cyber-attacks. One click is all it could take to open you up to ransomware, phishing, viruses or another security emergency.


How to stop spam

The 2003 Can Spam Act requires all email marketers to follow certain rules. Rules like including and “unsubscribe” link in the email and not adding anyone to the mailing list without permission. First, you should make sure you are not giving people permission to email you unless you want them to. Check the privacy policy and the fine print. Second, look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Regretfully. not all will include an unsubscribe link or hide it so it is impossible for most to see. Now, the worst of the spammers take the “unsubscribe” click to confirm that your email is valid and active and they sell it on to others.

So if you are sick of spam, give us a call to talk about your anti-spam protections. Contact Brochin.net today.

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