Be Your Child’s Superhero Dad! Earn The Title of Cyber Dad By Keeping Your Kids Safe online!!

When I was a kid I used to think my dad was a superman. He knew so much, all the best stories, jokes and he had all the answers. He fixed the trainers on my first bicycle and then later took them off and proudly watched me spin off. In crowded places, he held my hand tightly in his giant fist & told me stories on dark nights to make me forget my fears.

My Father is a short man with small hands, but then he seemed big with large hands. Love you Dad!

So all you Fathers out there! Remember, you are your kid’s Batman, Spiderman, and Superman rolled into one. You are the one with solutions, you are the protector from bullies, and you are the first cricket trainer. Modern times demand you don one more hat, that of the first cyber Guru.

So why not transform into a cool Cyber Dad this Father’s Day? I will tell you the why’s and how’s. For this we should refer to the McAfee Secret Lives of Indian Teens.

The WHY’s first

  • Because 56% of the teens surveyed were aware that they shouldn’t share intimate / personal details online but still almost 12% of them did so. Unfortunately only 8.5% of surveyed parents were aware of this
  • Because 35% of the surveyed teens intentionally access nude images or pornography online, and again, only 13.9% parents are aware of this
  • Because 74% of the surveyed teens believe they shouldn’t share their mobile number, but 30% of them still do. Once again, only 28% of surveyed parents were aware of this
  • Because cyber bullying and cyber stalking is on the rise and kids often don’t report to their parents of such incidences as they want to hide their humiliation and pain

The Internet has brought the world to your living room. This means that from the relative safety of your house, the child may innocently venture into unknown terrains, connect with strangers, or share private information while taking online quizzes. Or, curiosity might prompt her to break rules and check out those forbidden sites her friends were talking about.

And you might not even be aware of this for she might be smart enough to know how to erase her digital footprints. Kids know how to erase surfing history or disable parental controls. Moreover, teens often don’t want parents to know what’s happening to them.

The HOW’s then:

  • Dialogue: Be your child’s guide, friend, and confidante. TALK. DISCUSS. LISTEN. SHARE. Right from childhood. And also reiterate that the child must come to you without hesitation if she ever faces any kind of problem, online or offline
  • Learn: Find out what’s new in the threat scenario and stay updated on new trends
  • Train: Educate her on Internet safety, etiquette and responsibility
  • Security: Get ALL your Internet-enabled devices secured with advanced software, preferably with parental controls
  • Monitor: just like you monitor her in real life, supervise her online activities too. Treat the online world as an extension of the real one. Explain to the child that the supervision is needed to keep an eye on crooks, not her
  • Connect: with other parents and your child’s teachers to stay informed about what’s happening to her outside of home. 

Here’s wishing you Dads a wonderful bonding with your kids and a safe surfing experience for the family, Happy Father’s Day!


How To Surf Safely from A Cyber Café- A Mother’s Guide To Keeping Kids Safe On Public Computers

If your child is travelling alone, he/she might need to use cyber cafes to check mails, connect with you or friends. Children staying away from home for educational purposes also need PCs to connect, find facts, prepare projects, or just play games. In such situations cyber cafes seem like saviours.

With the rapid advancements in technology, even remote villages in India are quite likely to boast of a cyber café, albeit with only a couple of decrepit ancient computers. But they work and they have internet connections. But there are cyber security threats linked to these cafes. So how do users keep their ID and data safe when they use public computers?

 I readily admit that kids today are smart -they are better prepared to cope with internet related dangers. But even the wisest do slip at times and the consequences may not be very pretty.

So here are a few simple tips that your child and infact the whole family can keep in mind while surfing from any public computer:

  1. Try to find a café where the machines are ‘locked down’, which means, you are not allowed to install software or access control panel
  2. Before you start, check for any unexplained wires or connected external devices like pen drives or HDD
  3. When logging in, don’t tick the “remember me” or “Keep me logged in” options.
  4. After you type in your password, remember to answer “never for this site” when your browser asks, “Do you want Google Chrome to save your password?” If you use Mozilla Firefox, you can select “Don’t remember passwordfrom the pop up menu that opens at the top left
  5. If you are sending important documents like scans of mark sheet, passport or photo ID, it would be a good idea to send them via encrypted zip files that require a password to open. So, even if your e-mail gets hacked, the hacker won’t be able to lay his hands on your documents.

If the computer has McAfee SiteAdvisor, well and good. You can safely depend on it to point out unsafe sites. Otherwise, only access sites that start with ‘https’ and bear the green padlock symbol

Beware of your surroundings while you work or chat. Shoulder surfers try to slyly note your login id and password. It would be a good idea to change passwords as soon as you have access to a safe computer

Clear all History and Cookies by deleting temp files once you are done. Run a disc clean-up too, for good measure.

Of course, if the café owner has McAfee Total Protection installed on all his devices, your safety is ensured 🙂 

I trust your kid and even you will follow these tips to enjoy a concern-free surfing experience from public computers. Happy surfing!