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Internet safety tips for kids

Almost every child today in India (especially in urban cities) uses the Internet. However, it is in every way a double-edged sword. While it is a rich source for gaining knowledge and information, it is also infested with murderers, psychopaths, hackers and paedophiles. In this article, we look at some basic yet important guidelines which parents can set out for their kids for safe usage of the Internet.

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You’ve got a Friend request: Many times, a stranger with no mutual friends (or maybe one mutual friend) will send you a friend request or inbox message. It is best not to accept the request and if that person keeps sending you repeated messages in your inbox, please block him/her. Remember, almost 90% of people get away with Internet-related crimes because they provide fake information about themselves. So, just as in real life, don’t talk to strangers online.

Don’t reveal too much: Many social networking sites ask for personal information to be provided. The question is how much is too much? An important fact to note here is that none of that information is compulsory to provide. So, it is best not to give out your phone number or exact address location, and even if you do, make sure you have solid privacy settings.

Beware of that virus: So, a link promising you a million dollars flashes on your screen, what do you do? Never ever click on the said link for it can be a harmful virus sent by a hacker. Not only will all your data get erased, it can cause potential damage to your laptop/desktop. Also, your personal information (photos, videos etc.) may get transferred onto the system of the hacker. Don’t download anything from any random site as these downloads may be a potential virus.

Password protection: Never give out your password to even your closest friends. Your password is meant to be for your memory only. However, if you are underage, it is best to share it with one of your parents as this will help them keep a check on your social networking activities and e-mail interactions.

Keep your parents in the loop: Your parents should be aware of your online activities. This doesn’t mean giving them a minute-by-minute report about your every move online, but they must be aware of what’s happening in your Internet surfing world. In a nutshell, don’t hide vital stuff from them. For example, if an online ‘friend’ asks you for a meeting, tell them about it. Also, your parents must be aware of the sites you surf.

If kids follow these basic guidelines, the Internet can be a source of a knowledge haven for them and they will remain safe and protected.

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