Staying Safe Online

This is a collaborative post

I have been using the internet for many years thanks to a step dad that got into IT at the right time. I had ADSL internet before pretty much anyone I knew in the good old days of Dial-Up and I was using wireless networks as a young teenager with my own laptop in my bedroom. My step dad frequently talked about internet safety and protecting my laptop from viruses which has in turn made me quite tech savvy when it comes to my home internet life and when it comes to protecting my children and their safety online.

Not to long ago I had to deal with a hack myself and whilst there was no damage done as I have plenty of alerts set up and I could get things backed up quickly, it was still frightening. Especially when my card asked for my signature in a supermarket I shop in almost every day as a fraudulent prevention. I ended up cancelling all my cards and getting new ones for fear that the hacker had stolen some of my card details. Thankfully it never came to that and I feel like my network is fairly secure but if it wasn’t for the protection I have it could have been worse. I’ve seen many friends have sites and blogs hacked which has been worrying and damaging to their livelihood and income.

Recently in the news there have been hoaxes which have scared parents and children alike and it made me think about how we can protect, vet and secure our home networks. Having access to a secure VPN, a virtual private network, is one way to help your security and staying safe online to prevent hackers getting into your system which can lead to things like identity theft not to mention destroying your data on your computer and often leads to a complete loss of everything. This Microsoft article explains a VPN in more detail.

We all worry about our kids and what they’re doing online. It’s another fine line of giving your children independence and privacy but protecting them from content that they’re too young for. It’s important to note that most social media for example actually says you shouldn’t join if you’re under 13 which has actually always been the case. BT have published an interesting post on how to keep your kids safe online which is worth having a read of.

What you should be doing is making sure you have a good anti virus software on computers and learning about parental controls. On apps like YouTube you can select videos and channels that you feel are trustworthy. You can vet apps on iPhones and iPads by using themselves first to get a feel for whether you think they are suitable for your children. If, like me, you’re separated from your child at times due to split parenting then if it’s safe for you to do so you should talk to your ex partner or whoever your children are in the care of when not with you about concerns. Put rules and boundaries in place to stop children being exposed to content that just isn’t right for them.

Using a secure and stable network isn’t about being sneaky, it’s about protecting yourself, your identity and the content your share outside the home. We are much more in touch with this big wide world with geo tagging, enabling locations on apps and social media so it’s really worth our time to go the extra mile and protect ourselves and our kids when we are online.

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