News - Updates & Alerts
Keep children and teens safe online
I want to reach out and inform people of dangers to children, grandchildren, or even friends' children that they care about.
Good resources include the Canadian mediasmarts.ca and www.safekids.com in the US.
I believe many kids under 18 are being too active online. What many don't realize is that the owner of the internet connection (parents, grandparents, friends' parents, etc) are the ones legally responsible for anything that child does while on that connection. If the kids connect to sites you wouldn't - whether or not you condone this activity - and any charges result, you are the one in trouble.
Secondly, and just as important, kids rarely understand the implications of what they think is safe behaviour. Websites like "Facebook"and chatting live while playing games online may seem to be innocent, safe places to share information and have fun with "friends". Instead, invite the friends over for a visit and be sure your kids really do know these people! Ask your kids for the first name, last name, home address and home phone number of all their "friends" on the computer, just as you should with their other friends. If they cannot give you that information, they shouldn't be talking to them online, nor anywhere else.
The risks of predators is high. The risk of exposing your other personal information stored in your computer is high. The risk of harm to the kids or their future endeavours is high. I can't stress enough how little I trust these activities for those under 18. I believe that all online activities for under 18's should be supervised, for both their protection, and that of the computer owner.
Many websites have removed "thousands" of profiles belonging to convicted sex offenders, but they are refusing to cooperate with police to identify such users. They are also assuming that these predators use their real names online! There are links below to more information. Few people, especially kids, realize that what goes online, stays online! There are ways of retrieving information long thought deleted from websites.
In addition, whether or not you worry about the legalities of downloading music or videos without paying for it, there are real risks to allowing millions of other people into your computers, bypassing your security, by the use of programs such as Bearshare, Morpheus, Kazaa, Azureus, Limewire and Torrents. I won't allow these programs on any computer I own, as I value my privacy. So should you!
Stay safe, keep the kids in your life safe, and if you have questions about any of this, please contact us. Remember that while we are local in the Ottawa, Ontario area, we provide remote support anywhere!
Good resources include the Canadian mediasmarts.ca and www.safekids.com in the US. Warning/reminder re "phishing" emails
Please be cautious about clicking on links that are in messages which appear to be from your Internet Service Provider or bank, saying there is a problem with your account or your email. Many messages sent "from" financial institutions are an attempt to get your login and password. DO NOT click on links in these emails. Instead, type the email address of your bank's website into your browser. These messages are often referred to as "phishing".
A client, an intelligent and aware individual, received an email from PayPal recently, (a service to safely make payments online), saying there was a problem with a payment through her account. Unfortunately, she clicked on the link in the message before contacting us, but got suspicious and got in touch with us within minutes. On checking the link/webpage address in the browser, she discovered it was not a legitimate PayPal address. (That would _start_ with "paypal.com" ... this one was something completely different, with "paypal" appearing later in the address.) We advised her to close that window, go to the real PayPal website and change her password immediately, then contact PayPal through their legitimate website to advise them her account was at risk, as, she'd used her real PayPal login and password to "login" at the fake website, thereby giving away her information.
This type of message "from" ISPs, banks, or other "trusted" institution arrives in our email several times a week. Being cautious is the best way to protect yourself. If you think the message might be real, pick up the phone and verify it with your bank, etc. Very few of these messages are real, and it's better to delete and ignore, and be safe, rather than sorry.
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