laptop teens

Back to School Online Security Tips

kids computerThe online environment is constantly changing, as are the ways that both kids and adults are using  the internet.  Social networking continues to grow in popularity and  kids  are attracted to it because it’s a great way to interact with their friends and to make new friends.  Kids who are naturally shy tend to open up more in a virtual world, making it easier for them to make friends online.

These days, many kids draw little distinction between real life and online life. They may use social Web sites designed for children such as Webkinz or Club Penguin, or social Web sites designed for adults such as Windows Live Spaces, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and others.  Twitter is less secure than Facebook because by default all posts are public and will be broadcast in a publicly search-able time-line by anyone with a connection to the internet.  Unfortunately, some of the information kids tweet and post on their pages can also make them vulnerable to a wide variety of security threats, malware attacks, phishing scams, cyberbullying, and internet predators. Many  social networking sites children frequent do not have parental control tools that will help to keep your children safe.

laptop teensMost online  scams are targeted at adults since they are the ones with the bank accounts and credit cards.  But some are directed specifically at tweens and teens.   Many are aimed at young adults entering college. Here are a few of the worst scams in order to highlight the ways that con artists are most likely to try to take advantage of young kids and teens.

  • Social Security Scam
  • Justin Bieber Ticket Giveaway
  • Social Networking Scams (free ipads)
  • Farmville Ads
  • Twilight Casting Call
  • Text Message Scams
  • Ringtone Scams
  • College Scholarship Scams (Source: Terrible Scams Targeting Kids)

Kids are crazy about Neopets, an online game and virtual community that lets players adopt pets, collect rewards and buy special items for their virtual furry friends. But the game’s popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by bad guys, who are targeting Neopet users with a number of scams.   The Wall of Shame is a place where Neopets staff post the latest ways people are trying to trick others. Here’s how to protect your kids — and yourself.  Are Hackers Targeting Your Kids?

As social media websites have grown to attract people from all walks of life, they’ve also attracted criminal elements. Be aware of some of the tricks they use to scam you on social networking sites. Top 5 Social Media Scams

Learn the ins and outs of online communities like Facebook and MySpace.com so you can teach your teens to play it safe. Teen Community Safety Tips – Your Security Resource

Protect your kids from digital marketing tactics, by teaching youngsters about advertising, protecting private data, and keeping a watchful eye.Marketing to Kids Online – Your Security Resource

For teens with an iPhone or iPod Touch, the applications offered by the iTunes store may not be everything they want. Some teens try to “jailbreak” their devices by installing unauthorized applications. But this practice comes with risks. Here’s what you should know about jailbreaking. Is Your Teen Jailbreaking?

Did you know that your children’s online actions may have serious legal consequences? Here’s how to help them stay out of trouble. 5 Laws Your Kids Could Be Breaking Online

Related post: Security Threats: Symantec’s Protection Tips

12 thoughts on “Back to School Online Security Tips

  1. Well done, Timethief. I’ve sent the link to my best friend whose kids (12 to 22) I adore and worry about on line. In fact her two older kids have asked me about blogging and I’ve given them your site for general reference, so hopefully they will find and read this too, whether or not Mom tells them to look … thanks, as always.

    1. @Cynthia
      Thanks so much for sharing the link with your friend. You can assure her that I have a family safe blog and whatever I publish here is to the best of my knowledge accurate. If there is something that I have published that’s incorrect I will be happy to correct it. These days young people on the internet are under threat. The activities they are into and the sites they visit are pervaded by predators and other scam artists and evil doers.

  2. It’s been always a challenge to be a parent but serial social interactivity on the Internet with unseen strangers, creates a different ball game that previous centuries of parents never had to handle with their kids.

    Not totally related, but another type of problem of not locking down the computer for young children: I knew someone whose 4-yr. grandchild pressed a computer key, not knowing what she was doing. Her grandfather was in the midst of an online gambling game. She pressed the wrong key/time when he was doing something else for few seconds.

    It costed him a $500.00 bet which he lost. Wonder if he’s still gambling…

      1. Exactly and that’s why parenting these days is more difficult than it was before the internet existed. Kids don’t know what they are doing and some parents don’t know what their kids are doing either when they are online.

    1. @Jean
      I agree that raising kids has become an even greater challenge since the advent of the internet. Your example illustrates why parents ought to be locking down their computers, installing parental controls, undertaking all the suggested advice supplied by Symantec, and monitoring their kids while they are online.

  3. Kids nowadays spend far too much time in front of the computer. I believe parents should put time limit on computer usage hence they’ll use the computer time more productively instead of getting into pranks or trouble.

    Your security tips are great and not only does this apply to teens/young adults but also to novices and older people who are most likely to become victims of scams.

    1. While it’s true that these tips are relevant for all age groups kids are extremely trusting and are more likely to be hoodwinked than most adults online are. I also agree that kids are spending far too much time online and far too little exercising outdoors in fresh air. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Nice post….It’s a nice post for most of the kids[except me],…

    Just it was 4 months ago,I was also not knowing about scams and got my laptop full of spywares and Trojans….

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. Malware attacks are becoming very common so I hope this posts is helpful when it comes to protecting your computer from such threats.

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