12 Ways To Protect Children’s Privacy Online

Privacy1. Determine Where Your Children Can and Cannot Go On The Internet

• Visit some sites for kids and notice when sites gather personal information.

• Read privacy statements. If not in agreement, find a comparable site not requesting personal information.

• Block content that is unsuitable.

• A good strategy for inappropriate subject matter is to block it before seeing it. There are some ways for doing this with Microsoft software.

• Windows, Windows 7 and Windows 8. These three include parental control features for helping parents manage, monitor and oversee computer use by their children to keep them protected. See “Keep Your Family Safer” in Windows 8 parental controls, and see “Protecting Your Kids with Family Safety” in Windows 7.

• Parental controls are available for Xbox restricting your children’s capability to play games and watch DVD movies that are inappropriate.

• Read “Set Parental Controls” for Xbox live and Xbox 360 for additional information.

2. Increase Your Security And Pivacy

• Blocking sites and downloads that can put your privacy and security at risk is a good idea.

• Set limits with your children on downloading free music and games, toolbars that are animated, and downloads having the potential to put your computer at risk by exposing it to unwanted spyware or software.

• Teach your children, depending on their ages, not to download any software from the Internet that is unknown. Have them ask for your permission before downloading anything. This will prevent unwanted software from being on your computer.

[Also Read: How To Catch A Cheating Partner Via Their Cell Phone]

• Some common sites that your kids might accidentally download can possibly infect your computer with viruses, malware, Trojan horses or spyware without them having your permission beforehand. For more information to avoid this, see No. 3 for monitoring where your children go online.

• Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 permit the creating of multiple user accounts on your computer. Each user will log on with a distinct profile and have their own Desktop and My Documents folder. Give yourself an Administrator account and Limited User accounts for your children.

• Microsoft Security Essentials is a good antispyware and antivirus software. This will help you notice, disable or remove spyware, viruses, and other unwanted and possible software not wanted. It can be downloaded free from Microsoft for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. See “Help Protect Your PC” with Microsoft Security for additional information. Windows 8 or Windows RT does not require Microsoft Security Essentials.

• Norton Symantec offers Internet Security protection that can be downloaded from its site and it’s a bit pricey but powerful.

• Microsoft Internet Explorer permits you to adjust the browser security settings protecting your children by assigning website security levels under Tools/Internet Options.

3. Observe Where Your Kids Visit Online

• It is impossible to be with your children at all times when they are online. It is possible to check where they have been later.

• In Internet Explorer, you can review the History list as the Administrator to see the places your children have visited. Click on the History button on the browser’s toolbar to view the Internet History.

• See, “What Are Parental Controls?” in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 that will allow you to observe where your kids visit online.

4. Tell Your Kids Never Talk To Strangers Online

• Social networking, instant messaging, and real-time chatting is a wonderful way kids can connect for discussing their interests and to form friendships. The ability to be anonymous on the Internet can put kids at risk becoming victims to predators and imposters. Children are vulnerable and to curtail their risk, have them take precautions, for example:

  1. Identify themselves with a nickname or only a first name
  2. Never give out their address or phone number
  3. Never send photos of themselves or anyone else
  4. Do not agree to meet anyone they have met online without a parent

• See “Protecting Young People from Online Risks” for further information to help children from being contacted by strangers during instant messaging. Parents can configure their software to permit only contacts that have been approved.

5. Do Not Inadvertently Reveal Personal Information

• Configure your Web browser, or have a professional do it for you, if it’s too difficult. You might be removing personal details and e-mail addresses as well as other contact information without being aware you are doing this.

• Go to your browser. In the “Setup,” “Options,” or “Preferences” menu use a pseudonym (false name) rather than your real name. Do not enter your e-mail address or personal identifiable information (PII). If you browse to a website that you think you can trust, you can give your PII in required forms on their site. Your browser should not permit this information be available to all sites.

• Be aware for “internet defaults”—programs that are system-wide on your computer including Window’s Internet Control Panel, and Mac operating system’s Configuration Manager, including a third-party Mac utility, Internet Config.

• The aforementioned should be configured so that they are anonymous, as your browser is. Remove any PII from any of the locations. Homes having kids can have further security issues. Have explicit rules with children so they are aware not to disclose PII. If you, the parents trust certain sites, then you would allow your children to go there.

• Use cookie management software such as: http://download.cnet.com/MAXA-Cookie-Manager/3000-2144_4-10833465.html or http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/CookieMonster.php – There are others available online by searching for “cookie management software.”

6. Turn On Cookie Notices In Your Web Browser

• Tidbits of information are called cookies that web sites you visit keep temporarily and can be permanent. Cookies are harmless and useful normally. There are other types of cookies that are used for “mining” searching for data for tracking your every move and click you make for determining where you’ve been and your time there. These are used for marketing to try to sell you something.

• Besides the normal browser, most people are not aware that there are new super cookie types that have developed. These cookies do not delete together with your browser cookies being used by all browsers. Web bug cookies track your browsing and create a profile of your habits and interests.

• Read more: MAXA Cookie Manager, free download and software reviews, CNET Download.com http://download.cnet.com/MAXA-Cookie-Manager/3000-2144_4-10833465.html#ixzz2e9RLHsFN

• Only the cookie creator at sites can read most cookies. Some companies managing banner ads are cookie sharing rings, tracking the pages you load, the ads you click and more, then share this info with thousands of their web site clients. Cookie sharing rings are: DoubleClick, AdCast and LinkExchange. Don’t go there! DoubleClick somehow sneaks onto your computer and must be removed from the programs uninstall in your control panel (Windows). You can run Spybot, a wonderful program to find and destroy malicious items that have snuck in without your knowing. Kids are especially vulnerable when surfing.

7. Have A “Clean” E-Mail Address

Keep Them Off• When sending e-mail to unknown people, posting to blogs, in chat rooms or other public places on the Internet, or publishing your own Web page, mention your e-mail address from a side account, such as Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail and others as an alternate e-mail address and to use your preferred e-mail address with trusted individuals.

8. Minimize Access To Your Information

• You probably know people who could easily gain physical access to your computer or laptop, such as family, children, roommates, visitors and others. Identifying people who could gain remote access to your computer is more difficult. While having a computer connected to a network or the Internet, you and your family are vulnerable to something or someone accessing or corrupting your information. To make this more difficult, you can foster good habits, see Nos. 9 and 10, below.

9. Log-Off

• When you are away from your computer, log-off or lock it. Have it pass word protected when logging on, and this is for your children as well. This will prevent someone from waiting for you to leave then accessing your computer for your personal information.

10. Disconnect Your Computer

• For added security, disconnect your computer from your cable modem making it impossible for anyone to compromise your computer. It is less convenient this way, but the convenience of being connected comes with risk. Being always connected allows scanning the network for available computers is higher when you or your children are constantly plugged in.

11. Privacy Statements

• Check for privacy policy statements or seals indicating that the site stands by privacy standards. Read how your privacy will be protected. Teach this to your children.

[Make Sure To Check Out: Why Everyday People Are Using Mobile Phone Spying Software]

• Look for indicators that you are using a secure web page. These sites scramble or encrypt personal information that cannot be intercepted easily. Screen notices state that you are at a secure site and there may be a closed lock in the bottom corner of your screen. The “http” in the Internet address might change to “https” (“s” means secure) and change color as well. These are good indicators for children as well keeping them secure.

12. Online Privacy Compromised

• If you think your information or your children’s information has been compromised, get in touch with your bank and financial organizations immediately to close accounts. Watch for charges that you or the children did not make.

• Be sure to check all credit reporting agencies for activity that is unusual. Report this to the police and report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Read: http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm – COPPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

photo credit 2: arnoKath via photopin cc

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Josh Trenser

Josh Trenser is a complete Tech Geek, likes to watch movies and writes a lot about online and offline security measures. Make sure to leave comments below. Here is his official Google + page.

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  • Stephen

    Thanks for posting this. Privacy is a big concern these days, especially for children.

  • http://draumstafur.deviantart.com/ nodeer

    Thanks for posting this! This will be particularly useful for when my sister grows up and tries to internet more than just looking up Mickey Mouse’s Club House on youtube haha.

    I think good internet habits come from home, much like common sense and other necessary things. I grew up in the 90s-00s, and I think many real life rules (don’t talk to strangers, don’t share your whole life to everyone, be careful what you say) apply to the internet too. Children will always go on sites where they’re not supposed to go, because such is life, but good education at home will teach them how to act on the internet and why.

  • Kris

    Some of the best tips I have read about child safety. You can never be to safe these days!

  • romin vincent alavi

    As the father of 4 young children, 2 not so young, this is great. All kids have to get online these days, heck for school its literally a mandatory thing now. Some of my kids’ books are not allowed to be brought home, and must be accessed online only. My concern is that almost anything is available online, from pornography to building a nuclear bomb. I fear what they can be exposed to inadvertently. This list is going to give me some peace of mind as soon as I start implementing the suggestions. THANK YOU!!!

  • L. Slattery

    Better safe than sorry! Children are inherently trusting and they’re often not able to determine whether or not online content is safe. You need to be proactive in protecting them. It’s important to monitor the time they spend online.

    Luckily there are great tools that make keeping them safe easy.

  • Mitcher

    It makes me sick to think there ares sites out there that are set up just to prey on little kids. No matter how responsible your children are, no matter how much you’ve taught them about staying safe online, there are still people out there just waiting to jeopardize their safety. You need to be vigilant.

  • Lynn Ross

    Great advice!

    I’ve talked to my own kids about staying safe online and I’ve taken steps to block content I do not want them ever seeing. I try to be as noninvasive as possible but it’s sometimes impossible to keep them safe without it seeming like I’m prying. It’s hard to find the right balance!

  • Mark

    An antivirus software is key to keeping your kids safe. People often forget that some of the most dangerous threats are not going to be direct ones. There are some nasty viruses out there can pose a huge security threat.

    Talk to your kids about internet safety, but be sure to protect their computers as well.

  • Mora

    My little brother is always getting into trouble online. He just doesn’t seem to get it! My parents have talked to him and taken steps to ensure his safety but he’s so careless. He doesn’t seem to understand that privacy is a concern.

    I’ll show my parents this list. Maybe they can learn something that may help.