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10 Technical Questions What Every Parent Must Do to Keep Children Safe Online

Dec 17, 2011

Spyware, online fraud, and other Internet threats are certainly not new. But they are growing more sophisticated and criminal every day.

So how can you protect your children against these online dangers? And how can you provide a safe, appropriate Internet environment in the face of online criminals who know more about technology than you ever will?

Fortunately, there are good answers to these tough questions—thanks to a large, capable group of people and resources dedicated to helping you keep the Internet safe. With only a little effort on your part, you can educate yourself...

Tap into the world’s best resources for finding, monitoring, and defending your children against online threats... And start using the Internet more safely and confidently.

  1. How and why do I check the Web browser history?
    The Basics:
    • The Web browser history lists the Web sites your child has visited recently.
    • It’s a useful resource for checking Internet activity.
    • Web browser histories are easy to change and delete, so they are not foolproof.


  2. How and why do I review temporary Internet files?
    The Basics:
    • Your Web browser creates temporary files automatically to speed up your Internet experience.
    • These files can include Web pages, images, sound files, or movies.
    • Although the number and variety of temporary Internet files can be intimidating, examining them
    • provides a very detailed view of exactly what your children have been viewing online.
    • You should check temporary Internet files if there are unusual or suspicious holes in your child’s browser history.
    • Like the browser history, Internet-savvy children or teens can delete temporary Internet files fairly easily.


  3. How and why do I remove spyware?
    The Basics:
    • Generally speaking, spyware is software that hides on your computer, tracks what you’re doing online, and then sends that information over the Internet.
    • Some types of spyware, called “keystroke loggers” actually record and send everything you type on your computer.
    • Spyware software can sneak onto your computer when you download unsafe software and files—or even visit a hostile Web page.
    • One major source of spyware is the peer-to-peer file sharing software commonly used to share music and videos online.
    Tips for avoiding spyware and adware:
    • Set concrete ground rules with your children. Specify exactly what they are allowed (and not allowed) to do online.
    • Keep your PC in a public part of the house, where you can monitor your children’s online activities.
    • Avoid clicking on banner ads, links, or offers that appear too good to be true.
    • Be cautious with file-sharing software and other potentially unwanted software.


  4. How and why do I scan for and remove viruses?
    The Basics:
    • Viruses are software programs that hide on your computer and cause mischief or damage.
    • Viruses are also called worms, Trojan Horse programs, or other names, depending on how they behave. Together, all this malicious software is commonly referred to as “malware.”
    • Around 80% of malware today is designed to find and steal confidential information stored on your computer. This type of malware is sometimes called “crimeware.”
    • Malware can invade your machine through infected email attachments, “bots” that crawl the Internet looking for unprotected computers, and visits to “hostile” Web sites.


  5. How and why do I use a firewall?
    The Basics:
    • A firewall is your main line of defense against hackers, identity thieves, and other online predators.
    • It monitors all the data flowing in and out of your computer—and automatically blocks harmful traffic.
    • There are so many hackers looking for “fresh” unprotected machines that you should NEVER connect to the Internet without a firewall installed.
    • Firewalls can be purchased separately—or as part of an Internet Security “suite” that typically includes firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and parental control software.


  6. How do I monitor and block incoming files and information from the Internet?
    The Basics:
    • Three main types of security software can help you monitor and block harmful files from the Internet:
      1. firewalls;
      2. antivirus software;
      3. and intrusion detection programs;
    • A firewall monitors the information coming into your computer for suspicious activity.
    • Antivirus software “unwraps” incoming files and examines them for viruses, worms, and other threats.
    • Intrusion detection programs block attacks that try to take advantage of security holes in common applications such as Internet Explorer.


  7. How do I monitor and block outgoing files and information?
    The Basics:
    • It’s very important to keep sensitive personal information from “leaking” onto the Internet.
    • This can happen when personal information is sent from your computer over the Internet.
    • Without proper precautions, people can use instant messaging programs to remove sensitive information from your computer.
    • File-sharing or peer-to-peer networking programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, and Bit Torrent can also make it easier for people to access sensitive files on your computer.


  8. How do I adjust search engine settings (i.e. Google preferences)?
    The Basics:
    • Search engines can provide children with fast, easy access to inappropriate material on the Internet.
    • Most search engines allow you to block search results that are unsuitable for children.
    • Blocking inappropriate search results greatly reduces the chance that your children will stumble across dangerous or objectionable material on the Internet.
    • These search result filters are not foolproof—some unwanted content may still appear in the search results.


  9. What safety and security tools are available on a typical home computer?
    The Basics:
    • Most home PCs run Microsoft Windows XP, which includes a number of important basic Internet security capabilities.
    • The Windows Security Center provides important basic information about your computer’s security status.
    • Add-on Internet security products can offer more advanced, complete protection against Internet threats.


  10. What are “updates” and why should I install them?
    The Basics:
    • Updates—also called patches—are fixes or enhancements to the software running on your computer.
    • Often, patches repair security “holes” in software that may be used by hackers to attack your PC.
    • Other updates may keep your security software up-to-date with the latest information about new Internet threats.
    • Updates are released regularly by software companies like Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, and others.
    • You should always apply updates as soon as they become available. Running the most up-to-date software makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your computer.


Keeping your family safe from online threats doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Just become familiar with the answers to these questions... Follow a few simple, common-sense rules... And start using the world’s leading Internet experts to protect your home PC against today’s most sophisticated Internet threats.

The full tutorial about 10 technical questions what every parent must do to keep children safe online, can be downloaded as PDF file: TenCommonQuestions.pdf [3,5 MB] from the publisher’s site us.norton.com.

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