sábado, 11 de junio de 2011

Keeping Children Safe Online

 US-CERT Cyber Security Tip ST05-002 -- Keeping Children Safe Online

Children present unique security risks when they use a computer—not only do you have to keep them safe, you have to protect the data on your computer.
  By taking some simple steps, you can dramatically reduce the threats.

What unique risks are associated with children?

  When  a  child  is using your computer, normal safeguards and security
  practices may not be sufficient. Children present additional challenges
  because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for
  independence,  and  fear  of  punishment.  You  need to consider these
  characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

  You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or researching
  a term paper, or typing a homework assignment, he or she can't cause any
  harm. But what if, when saving her paper, the child deletes a necessary
  program file? Or what if she unintentionally visits a malicious web page
  that  infects  your computer with a virus? These are just two possible
  scenarios. Mistakes happen, but the child may not realize what she's done or
  may not tell you what happened because she's afraid of getting punished.

  Online  predators  present another significant threat, particularly to
  children. Because the nature of the internet is so anonymous, it is easy for
  people to misrepresent themselves and manipulate or trick other users (see
  Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for some examples). Adults
  often fall victim to these ploys, and children, who are usually much more
  open and trusting, are even easier targets. Another growing problem is
  cyberbullying. These threats are even greater if a child has access to email
  or  instant  messaging programs, visits chat rooms, and/or uses social
  networking sites.

What can you do?

    * Be involved - Consider activities you can work on together, whether it
      be playing a game, researching a topic you had been talking about (e.g.,
      family vacation spots, a particular hobby, a historical figure), or
      putting together a family newsletter. This will allow you to supervise
      your child's online activities while teaching her good computer habits.
    * Keep  your  computer  in  an  open area - If your computer is in a
      high-traffic area, you will be able to easily monitor the computer
      activity. Not only does this accessibility deter a child from doing
      something she knows she's not allowed to do, it also gives you the
      opportunity  to intervene if you notice a behavior that could have
      negative consequences.
    * Set  rules and warn about dangers - Make sure your child knows the
      boundaries  of  what  she  is allowed to do on the computer. These
      boundaries should be appropriate for the child's age, knowledge, and
      maturity, but they may include rules about how long she is allowed to be
      on the computer, what sites she is allowed to visit, what software
      programs she can use, and what tasks or activities she is allowed to do.
      You should also talk to children about the dangers of the internet so
      that they recognize suspicious behavior or activity. Discuss the risks
      of sharing certain types of information (e.g., that they're home alone)
      and the benefits to only communicating and sharing information with
      people they know (see Using Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms Safely,
      Staying Safe on Social Network Sites, and the document Socializing
      Securely: Using Social Networking Services for more information). The
      goal isn't to scare them, it's to make them more aware. Make sure to
      include the topic of cyberbullying in these discussions (see Dealing
      with Cyberbullies for more information).
    * Monitor computer activity - Be aware of what your child is doing on the
      computer, including which websites she is visiting. If she is using
      email, instant messaging, or chat rooms, try to get a sense of who she
      is corresponding with and whether she actually knows them.
    * Keep lines of communication open - Let your child know that she can
      approach you with any questions or concerns about behaviors or problems
      she may have encountered on the computer.
    * Consider  partitioning your computer into separate accounts - Most
      operating systems give you the option of creating a different user
      account  for  each  user.  If  you're  worried that your child may
      accidentally access, modify, and/or delete your files, you can give her
      a separate account and decrease the amount of access and number of
      privileges she has.
      If you don't have separate accounts, you need to be especially careful
      about your security settings. In addition to limiting functionality
      within your browser (see Evaluating Your Web Browser's Security Settings
      for more information), avoid letting your browser remember passwords and
      other personal information (see Browsing Safely: Understanding Active
      Content and Cookies). Also, it is always important to keep your virus
      definitions up to date (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software).
    * Consider implementing parental controls - You may be able to set some
      parental controls within your browser. For example, Internet Explorer
      allows you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your
      computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find
      those options, click Tools on your menu bar, select Internet Options,
      choose the Content tab, and click the Enable... button under Content
      There are other resources you can use to control and/or monitor your
      child's online activity. Some ISPs offer services designed to protect
      children online. Contact your ISP to see if any of these services are
      available. There are also special software programs you can install on
      your  computer.  Different  programs  offer different features and
      capabilities, so you can find one that best suits your needs.

Additional information

  The  following  websites offer additional information about protecting
  children online:
    * GetNetWise - http://kids.getnetwise.org/
    * StaySafeOnline - http://www.staysafeonline.org/

    Authors: Mindi McDowell, Allen Householder

    Note: This tip was previously published and is being
    re-distributed to increase awareness.

    Terms of use


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