Dear Parents, I am looking forward to this Friday evening when Adam Przytula from the organisation ‘Armed for Life’ is coming to the College to run a workshop for parents on cyber safety in the home. This important presentation will take place in Bryan Hall at 6.00pm. All parents are encouraged to attend this one hour workshop.
As both a parent and a principal, I am very aware of the challengers many families face with regard to their children using the Internet in a safe and appropriate manner. Here are some strategies for staying safe while online
- Choose and use passwords wisely
- Make certain that your password contains at least 8 characters and includes a variety of numbers, letters, and/or symbols.
- Download with care – Download images, applications, and screen savers from trusted sources only. Make certain that you know the website you are visiting and it is one you can trust.
- Do not immediately open e-mail attachments
- If you receive an e-mail attachment that you were not expecting (even if it is from someone you know), do not open it, there may be a virus contained within it. Your best bet is to send an e-mail back to the sender asking them to explain what the attachment contains. If it is a virus, they may not even know the e-mail was sent. This extra step can really help to protect your system!
- Avoid forwarding chain letters, jokes, and other types of SPAM – These letters often contain false information that misleads people. In addition, they send the personal data of yourself and your friends to strangers through malware embedded in the chain-email. By forwarding emails to your friends, you may be creating a list of emails for spammer to use.
- Be sure to use and update your anti-virus software – This is your best defence against viruses!
- Make regular back-ups of your files – In the case of a virus or computer malfunction, regular back-ups help to get your system back in order quickly.
- When you receive a message that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not respond – Immediately shut off your monitor or close your laptop and talk to a parent or trusted adult.
- Use your computer in a positive manner that is respectful and courteous to others – Remember, it is important to use your system to do good things, not harm.
- Protect your personal data by not giving out your name, address, phone number, etc. – This information should only be given to people that you trust. It’s always a good idea to check with your parents before providing this information.
Some more things that you can do to be safe online include:
- Parents – establish online rules and an agreement with your sons and daughters about Internet use at home and outside of the home.
- Students– talk to your friends if you see them making poor choices online that could compromise their safety
- Parents – spend time online alongside your daughter or son and establish an atmosphere of trust regarding computer usage and online activities.
- Students – your parents should respect you, but remember that they have the ultimate responsibility to keep you safe.
- Parents – place your home computer in an area of your house where you can easily supervise your family’s Internet activity.
- Parents – regularly discuss your sons and daughters about their online friends and activities. This helps you learn about how the digital generation uses the Internet – and may help keep your family safe.
- Students – if your brother, sister, or friends seems to be making bad choices online that could harm them, talk with them, and a parent or trusted adult.
- Parents – review the amount of time your son or daughter spends on the Internet, and at what times of the day.
- Students – if one of your real world friends “lives” on the Internet, be a friend and invite that person to do something together that’s in “the real world.”