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The big 6 online issues

The web should be a secure place where you and your family can communicate, learn, shop, and share without having to worry about the safety of your personal information. We can help you understand, prevent, and manage online issues to protect your family.

General Computer Security

  • Use reputable computer security technology and keep it up to date. Always install, update, and maintain firewalls and intrusion detection software.
     
  • Use a website reputation service (for a quick check of a url’s safety visit our Site Safety Center). This type of service can flag sites that might be harmful to your computer.
     
  • Beware of websites that require software installation. Always read license agreements carefully and cancel the installation process if other programs are going to be installed in addition to the one you want.
     
  • Only provide personal info on websites that display a lock icon at the bottom of your browser.
     
  • To keep your emails safe use an anti-spam product. Most reputable computer security software has this feature – such as Trend Micro’s Titanium.
     
  • Be wary of unexpected or strange-looking emails. Never open attachments or click on links from these emails.
     
  • Be alert when receiving emails that request account details and never provide personal information to unsolicited requests.

Preventing Identification Theft and Online Scams

  • Use reputable security software on your computer. This will help protect your computer from viruses, spyware, spam, and other malicious software designed to steal personal information. Keep this software updated and make sure the firewall feature is on.
     
  • Be smart about being online. If you need to enter personal information, enter the very minimum required. Use a password that would be difficult for someone to guess and change it regularly.
     
  • Be certain of what you download from the Internet. Malicious software can sometimes be downloaded along with a legitimate program. Make sure the site you’re downloading from is reputable and that the file you are downloading is safe by keeping your security software up-to-date. Be extra cautious about downloading executable files (those with an ".exe" at the end of the file name).
     
  • Shop online carefully. Learn about a site’s privacy and security policies which tell you what information they collect, how they make sure it is safe, and with whom they share it. Use a credit card for shopping, as this is the best way to be covered for any fraud. Check your credit card statement regularly to make sure no one has used it without your knowledge and report any fraud to the
    company immediately.

Safe Social Networking Practices

  • Keep it private. Know how to use the privacy settings of the social networking sites and review their privacy and security policies. Check the Terms of Service to make sure your kids are old enough to use the site.
     
  • Secure your computer. Use reputable computer security software and keep it up-to-date. This will help protect you from malicious software that is designed to infect your computer and steal personal information.
     
  • Keep personal information private. Make sure your children know to never share their phone number, address, and name. Some security technology, like Trend Micro Titanium can even help you prevent them from posting information like your home phone number online.
     
  • Know what is appropriate to share. Advise your children to post only those things they wouldn’t mind teachers, relatives, or future employers seeing. Anything they post can be public forever.
     
  • Teach your kids to treat others respectfully and to tell you if they are being harassed online.
     
  • Respect copyrights and avoid the unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material on their profiles.

Cell Phone Safety and Security

  • Use security software for your phone. Just like computers, mobile phones can be hacked to gain access to your personal information. Use a security application – such as Trend Micro's Smart Surfing for iPhone (free download) – to protect your personal information from being stolen.
     
  • Talk to your children about appropriate use of the cell phone.
     
  • Be respectful when communicating with others by phone – whether by
    voice or text.
     
  • Never use your phone to say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t want the world to know. Even if you communicate this to one person in private, once it is sent or posted, it is there forever.
     
  • Never take, distribute, or store nude photos of anyone under 18. You could be charged with child pornography, a serious crime.
     
  • Use GPS wisely. Make sure you and your family share your physical location via GPS only with people you know.

Protecting Children from Inappropriate Content

  • Set rules. Make it a house rule that kids must use their computer in a
    common area.
     
  • Stay connected to the sites your children visit. Agree to which websites your children are allowed to visit. Then review the safety and security policies of these sites and see if they require any personal information (like an email address or home phone number) to be provided.
     
  • Use technology. You can block access to many categories of harmful sites by using the parental-control feature of your computer security software.

Dealing with Cyberbullying and Online Predators

  • Think about what you post. Use sites and services that have privacy settings. Do not share personal information.
     
  • Be nice online. Treat people the way you yourself would want to be treated.
     
  • Do not retaliate. If someone says or does something online that makes you uncomfortable, it is best to ignore them or block them altogether. Retaliation can encourage the bully to continue.
     
  • Report bad behaviors to someone you know. If someone is harassing you online or by phone, tell someone you trust.
     
  • Report bad behaviors to the service providers. Report any bullying to the service provider of the email, phone, instant messaging, or social networking being used by the bully. Visit our If you need help now section for more detailed information on how to do this.

  • Save the evidence. If the behavior continues, work with your parents or another adult to save the offending messages, pictures, or copies of online conversations. More serious forms of cyberbullying should be reported to
    the police.
     
  • Don’t participate and stand up for others. Even if you aren’t the direct victim of the bully, don’t participate by simply watching someone else be bullied. Stand up for others. Even if you aren’t the direct victim of the bully, and haven't participated, don’t simply watch someone else be bullied.


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