Keeping our kids safe online

You may have recently noticed a lot of youth around the building for “Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”. This is a great time for us to remember that information security doesn’t just impact us at work, it can affect our kids as well.

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 innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment.

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 she unintentionally visits a malicious web page that infects your computer with a virus? 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 Adults often fall victim to these ploys, and children, who are usually much more open and trusting, are even easier targets.

What can you do?

  • Be involved
  • Keep your computer in an open area
  • Set rules and warn about dangers
  • Monitor computer activity
  • Keep lines of communication open
  • Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts
  • Consider implementing parental controls

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 Advisor.

RESOURCES
GetNetWise.org
StaySafeOnline.org
Stop. Think. Connect. - http://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect
US-CERT - https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST05-002

Security tips are brought to you by the CTS SOC. The mission of the CTS SOC is to provide centralized information sharing, monitoring, and analysis of Washington State security posture. Contact us at: soc@cts.wa.gov.