Blog

Enjoy Staying Connected? Use These 5 Tips to Prevent Personal Information From Getting Stolen Online

tips on internet safetyAccording to a California-based security firm, Securi Security, all of the top 1,000 sites on the internet have been patched after “Heartbleed” exploited security flaws all over the internet. As of last week, only roughly 2% of the top million were still exposed. Unfortunately, “Heartbleed” will probably not be the last hack of its kind, and online information is always prone to attack, even on the most secure websites. Because of that, finding and using some helpful tips on internet safety is always a good idea. Whether you love to shop online, or you enjoy the benefits of online banking and paying bills, you should take steps to better protect vital information and your identity.

Don’t Go Phishing
One of the most important tips for internet safety is to watch out for phishing websites that ask for personal information. While they might look legitimate, they are often meant to do nothing more than steal passwords and other data. So before typing in any information, make sure you are on the website you are actually looking for.

Use Unique Passwords
Lists of internet safety tips for everyone should include the use of unique passwords for multiple sites and making sure that those passwords are complex. Simply using “password” or “123456” can leave you more prone to hacking, so taking some extra time to create complex passwords is a smart choice.

Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs
The best programs available today will automatically update themselves and scan your computer automatically to help keep personal information safe. They are often the easiest means of protecting yourself against hackers and identity theft.

Don’t Share Personal Information on Social Media
Though it might sound obvious, you should never post personal information on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites. Though you might want to show off your cool new credit card with a big rewards program, taking a picture of it and posting it online is never wise. For added protection against both your mistakes and other web users’ actions, social media monitoring software can also be helpful.

Use Reputable Websites
No tips on internet safety will be useful if you are constantly visiting and using sites that are not trustworthy. Whether you are shopping on strange sites because it looks like they are offering great deals, or downloading computer games, you should always make sure that the site you are using is reputable.

With the boom of online shopping and the internet becoming more entwined with daily life, everyone should use helpful tips on internet safety. Without them, attacks like “Heartbleed” could put credit card numbers, bank accounts, and other personal information into the wrong hands.

Three Internet Safety Tips Every Parent Should Read

tips on internet safetyEvery parent should know by now that, for as much good as the Internet can offer, there are also many online dangers, perils and threats that each user faces every time they go online — even children and teenagers. Though you may feel that your kids are more technologically savvy, and thusly more knowledgeable about being safe online than you might be, you should nevertheless read some tips on Internet safety to make sure that they’re doing everything they can to be safe.

Here are some of the most important Internet safety tips for parents so that you can make sure your young ones are safe from malicious online entities!

Stay as Anonymous as Possible. 
The Internet allows users a good degree of anonymity, but the want to connect with others might make us sabotage this protective guise. That’s why staying anonymous is one of the most important tips on Internet safety. Keep all information private, including your name, phone number, work place, school, and more.

Internet Monitoring Tools. 
Some websites are safer than others, and if you fear that your teens are venturing off to places where they can accrue viruses, spyware, and the attention of hackers, then you may want to consider getting Internet monitoring tools. If you find any such sites that could pose a threat, then you can block them and explain to your teen why they can’t go there. While it’s not one of the easiest tips on Internet safety, since most parents don’t feel right “spying” on their kids, it’s also important.

Spend Time Together. 
Perhaps one of the more obvious tips on Internet safety is to be more involved in your kids’ Internet lives. Talk to them about what they do online. Go online with them and see where they like to go and what they like to do there. Keep the computer in a high traffic area of the house where their activities can be casually checked on.

All of these tips on Internet safety will not only make your kids safer, but also give you peace of mind. If you have any questions, or any other tips on Internet safety to suggest, feel free to share in the comments.

Tagged in:

Three Important Online Safety Tips For Teens

tips for internet safetyParents recognize that teens need freedom, but they also want to protect their children. While some teenagers might feel that their parents’ Internet tracking habits and social media monitoring software programs are a bit invasive, these teens don’t understand the dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the web. Predators, hackers, cyber bullies, and all kinds of malicious people are out there, and parents want nothing more than for their kids to be protected from these vicious entities.

If you’re struggling to find a compromise between your teens’ freedom with their need to be protected, then here are a few tips on Internet safety for teens to help you meet them in the middle.

Lay the Ground Rules
One of the most important tips for Internet safety is to lay down some ground rules with your kids. For example, they can have a Facebook account and post pictures there, but they’re not allowed to use their full name, post where they go to school, nor make their profile public. If they’re caught breaking any of your rules, then they can either have their Internet freedoms revoked, or write you a list of their own tips for Internet safety after reading about all the dangerous things that can happen if you’re not careful.

Log Off When Done
One of the most unheeded tips for Internet safety amongst teens is to log off any and all of their accounts. Teens love signing on to their social networks on their friends’ computers. Although they probably trust their friends, there’s no telling what these “friends” can do if they have access to teens’ profile. What’s more, what if someone else, like the brother or sister of the friend, goes on the social networks, notices that the profile wasn’t logged off, and says something really awful and ruins the teen’s reputation? That’s why logging off is one of the most important tips for Internet safety there is.

Act Accordingly Online as You’d Act Offline
Writing nasty messages, making online threats, and hacking others’ information is just as illegal as sending hate mail, making verbal threats, and stealing someone’s identity. There’s no difference. Though it’s not necessarily one of the most explicit tips for Internet safety, it’s an important point to heed. The Internet cannot afford the anonymity that most people assume it can. Plus, teens shouldn’t be doing those things anyways, as much as their anger may tempt them to.

These are just a few of the most important tips for Internet safety that teens can heed today. If you have any questions about these tips for Internet safety, feel free to ask in the comments.

Tagged in:

Five Tips You Can Give Your Kids to Minimize the Risk of Cyberbullying

internet safety tips for kidsBullying is far more nuanced today than it was in the past. Though parents should still be concerned about how their kids fare on the playground, they also need to worry about social media and cyberbullies.

According to statistics from the Cyberbullying Research Center, about half of young people have experienced being bullied online and 10-20% experience it regularly. As a result, many parents are turning to social media monitoring software and other internet monitoring tools to try to keep their kids safe. However, a better option might be learning and sharing internet safety tips for kids, designed to prevent bullying from ever happening.

Think Before You Post
Teens and adults alike have a tendency to just post random thoughts and ideas that pop into their head on sites like Facebook and Twitter. However, parents should emphasize that, before sharing anything, kids should think about what they are saying. That will help them avoid posting personal information or anything that bullies can use to harass others.

Ignore Unsolicited Messages
It might be exciting for kids to hear a friendly message from a stranger. While it might not seem dangerous at first, an initial message could lead to a wide range of problems in the future. One of the smartest internet safety tips for kids that parents can share is to not talk to strangers online, just like in person.

Never Share Passwords
When a friend just wants to check something quick, it can be easy for teens to share their passwords just to do a favor. But, the unfortunate reality is that there is a chance the friend will then share the password, and other people will find private information on social media or in emails. The only people that kids should share passwords with are their parents.

See What Other People Can Find
Googling yourself and seeing what comes up might be a silly way to pass the time. However, it is one of the valuable internet safety tips for kids because it shows exactly what other people might be able to find. They could be surprised at the information that comes up, and it can help them to be more circumspect in the future.

Don’t be a Bully
The old adage “treat others how you would like to be treated” applies to the internet as well. Not only is cyberbullying mean, but it opens the door to retaliation and could start a vicious cycle of arguing and insults. Many parents will tell teens to stick up for themselves, but starting trouble is never a good idea.

There are dozens, if not more, tips that parents could give their kids to promote safety online and limit the potential for cyberbullying. It may take time to learn and share them all, but they can be quite effective.

Tagged in:

Three Tips For Internet Safety

tips for internet safetyKids as young as four are spending time online today, and considering the threat of cyber-bullying, inappropriate content, and Internet predators, parents need to keep a watchful eye on their young ones’ online activities. While Internet monitoring tools will certainly give parents peace of mind, the most important thing is to teach children how to be safe online.

Here are a few tips for Internet safety that all kids and parents should be aware of!

Leave Social Media Private
If you allow your children to socialize on sites like Facebook, make sure that their setting are private. Social networks know the dangers of putting information out into the public sphere, and have created settings that can make a profile so private that the only way a user can be found is if they initiate contact in the first place. These sites also have FAQ pages for parents that are filled with tips for Internet safety.

Keep an Open Dialogue
Kids should feel comfortable talking to you about any of their problems — whether they are school issues or problems online. Let them know that you’re there for them, that you understand what they’re going through, and that you want to know if anything ever makes them feel uncomfortable. They may be a little bit shy at first about things, but they’ll open up eventually.

Put the Computer in a High Traffic Area of Your Home
One of the easiest tips for Internet safety is to put the computer in a high traffic area of the home where you can keep a watchful eye on your children’s activities from a distance. Areas like the dining room or living room are perfect. Though your children may protest, saying it’s better to have the computer in a private room, simply tell them that it’s for the whole family and belongs in a place where everyone can use it.

These tips for Internet safety will help children stay away from inappropriate content, cyber-bullies, and virtual predators. Although Internet content filtering software can absolutely help kids be safe online, the most important thing is that they understand these tips for Internet safety. If you have any questions, or any other tips for Internet safety to suggest, please feel free to share in the comments.

Tagged in:

Dana Hills High School Selects ZABRA for its Social Networks Awareness and Safety Program

DHHS logo

Today marks a very important day for Capistrano Valley Unified School District in its effort to keep its students safe on social media.  Dana Hills High School’s, Dana Point, CA, launched its social media awareness and safety program with ZABRA in an effort to raise awareness to the potential dangers children face when engaging in online social activity.

We’ve all read the headlines in the news – Cyberbullying on the rise among students, sexting rings discovered in middle schools,… No doubt countless families have been impacted with this kind of behavior. However, many parents have no idea what their children are exposed to, or doing while online on social networks. This is why ZABRA is working with schools to help educate and create awareness about these issues before they become potential problems.

Using tools to protect children is nothing new. It wasn’t too long ago that wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle was optional. Today we wouldn’t dream of allowing our kids to ride without one. I’m old enough, and yes I’m dating myself, to remember a time when seatbelts were optional as well. I remember going on family vacations where I rode on the “back shelf” of the station wagon during a 4 hour trip to the beach. It wasn’t that my parents were neglectful, there just wasn’t awareness of the dangers this presented. Laws changed and people have conformed to protect their kids.

The world has changed, is changing, will change more and many parents are, how do we put this, out-teched by many of their kids. Obviously this is a generalization however, in many homes, the 13 year old child is tech support for the family.

As ZABRA founder Paul Adkison states, “Parents need to play an active role in their child’s online footprint and help guide them from potential dangers; however, most parents have a false sense of security regarding online dangers and the implication to their children. Our children aren’t equipped with the real world skills to deal with the consequences of the information they see, actions they take and things they say while online.”

This is why Dana Hills High School has partnered with ZABRA. Awareness and education are the keys to help solving this issue both for parents as well as students. While bad behavior and poor decisions will always be something we struggle with as humans, being aware that a problem exists and then educating people on how to react to and prevent these problems are key. Using tools like ZABRA should be common sense. Being respectful to others and not posting things in public you wouldn’t share with your grandmother should be common sense. For many parents, they just don’t know this behavior goes on, especially in the fast-paced world of social media where kid’s lives, thoughts and pics are broadcast 24 x 7.

The Dana Hills pilot program is a step in the right direct to protect our children.  If you or your school is interested in working with the ZABRA team to implement a similar program in your area, please contact us, we’d love to hear from you.

For more information about ZABRA or the program, please contact ZABRA at info@zabra.com.

Tagged in:

Worried About Your Teen Being the Victim of Cyberbullying? Share These 5 Helpful Tips With Them.

internet safety tips for teensA staggering 43% of kids have been the victim of cyberbullying, and a quarter have been bullied online multiple times, according to stats compiled by DoSomething.org. With those numbers and the often tragic consequences of bullying in mind, many parents will try to take steps to monitor kids’ internet activity, such as installing social media monitoring software. However, a better option might be to learn and share some internet safety tips for teens. Giving them the knowledge they need to stay safe while being free to use the internet as they want to can be a great alternative to simply monitoring what they do.

  • You should never post personal information like a cell phone number, address, or even the name of your school where strangers can see it. This is one of the most important internet safety tips for teens because it will help make sure online issues don’t spread beyond the computer.
  • Don’t add friends on social media or other sites who aren’t acquaintances in real life. While that might limit how much interaction teens can have online, it is key for limiting the potential for risky situations.
  • Never respond to harassing emails or social media messages. In the same way that teens should often try to ignore bullies in person (though that can be quite difficult), doing so online will stop problems from escalating.
  • On the flip side, never send bullying messages or harass anybody. Not only is it mean, it could lead to reciprocal actions and serious consequences. Though the vast majority of teens think that they can get away with bullying online, a good rule is to never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
  • The growth of both Facebook and Instagram, especially, have contributed to the massive number of photos that teens post every day. However, think about the photos you have on your phone or computer before posting them. Not only could they share more information than you realize, but it’s an important internet safety tip for teens, because posting pics could get friends in trouble as well.

Decades ago, parents worried about bullies on the playground and making sure the lunch money they gave their kid would make it all the way to the cafeteria. Now, the growth of the internet has added a troubling wrinkle to bullying, and it is harder than ever before for parents to make sure their teens are not victims. While many are turning to software programs and monitoring services, many will find that making sure their teens know proper online safety techniques is the better alternative.

Tagged in:

Demi Lovato Puts an End to Cyberbullying of Kathy Griffin. Who Will Help Your Teen?

protect kids on social mediaCyberbullying, though known for having drastic effects on teens and young adults, isn’t reserved only for regular kids. After Kathy Griffin called Demi Lovato a “douche,” on Twitter, the pop star’s fans — which have been dubbed the “Lovatics” — attacked the brash comedienne. But Lovato, on the high road, responded by saying “@kathygriffin no one should ever wish those things upon ANYONE. I apologize on others behalf. I do NOT approve of that at all. Sorry 4 that,” and urged her fans to stop cyberbullying.

Unfortunately, for the average teen, the chances of a celebrity telling bullies to knock it off are virtually non-existent and many parents, especially those who are familiar with the many tragic cases of teens harming themselves as a result, have the desire to protect kids on social media. But doing so is easier said than done, and it is hard to protect kids from cyber bullies. For many, installing monitoring programs on computers is the only option.

The best internet protection for kids will vary from family to family, but generally, parents should try to find social media monitoring software that sends alerts when potential problems arise. Simply put, it is impossible for parents to look over their kids’ shoulders all the time while they are on the computer, and neither kids nor parents want to deal with that hassle. But by installing a comprehensive software monitoring program, parents will be better able to protect their kids from the impact of online bullies without being overly intrusive.

One of the reasons that cyberbullying is so problematic, and so widespread, is the fact that not only do 81% of teens think they can get away with it, but also because 90% of teens who say they have witnessed online cruelty chose to do nothing about it, according to the Pew Internet Research Center. It is hard to blame kids for not stepping in, but that means the responsibility to keep kids safe from cyber bullies may fall on parents. That means using reliable monitoring programs to protect kids on social media is even more important.

Dosomething.org says that bullying victims are between two and nine times more likely than others to consider suicide, and cyberbullying certainly contributes to that trend. As a result, parents need to consider every means possible to protect kids on social media. In reality, talking and listening to their problems will often turn out to be a far more effective tool than any software program.

Tagged in: