Is your child safe in cyber space?

Children love Facebook, Youtube, and gaming sites, among  others websites that you may not even have heard about.

But protecting children from cyber criminals has become an important duty of contemporary parents. Here are some major online dangers, and a few ways to protect your children from them.

Cyber stalkers
These are paedophiles and perverts who stalk children online. They might keep sending them unwanted messages, and make you conscious that you are under surveillance. This can be an eerie sensation. They often try to get in touch with children in person.

Antidote: Using maximum privacy settings in social networking sites, chat sites and all other interactive sites will help. If your child is being stalked, she should know that she must tell a parent, teachers or counsellor.

Avoiding online strangers who ask for contact information of any kind is a cyber safety precaution that should always be followed. Kids should be taught to never give information like phone numbers, addresses or the name of their school to strangers, including friends of friends.

Cyber bullies
This tribe sends hurtful and/or posts negative comment on their blogs. They may keep sending nuisance messages, or try to hack into your mail id. If they succeed, they can use the mail id to send messages to those on your mailing list. Cyber bullies could also post information about people on websites with bad comments about them.

Antidote: Taking them off ‘friends’ lists and blocking them from messenger will limit their access. Checking out privacy options for all internet activities will also help to block  out cyber stalkers and bullies.

Hackers crack passwords  to get into mail or social networking accounts of their victims. This means password owners can’t access their mail id and account. And poison messages might be sent from the account to one’s friends. For example, all the contacts on someone’s email list may receive mails from that person, inviting them to try out some new health product. And the link given may lead to a site that has viruses.

Antidote: Passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers and special characters are safest.

The passwords that can be cracked easily are those containing one’s name, date of birth, or mother’s name.

Phishing scams
Phishers send fraudulent emails claiming to be from a bank or mail service provider. They ask for contact details, bank account number, password and other confidential information. Once they get that information, they misuse it.

Antidote: Genuine banks, mail providers and others never ask for passwords and important information by email. So the only solution is to ignore all such mails.

Mail inboxes often get flooded with advertising e-mail known as spam. When a mail is opened, or a file downloaded, spam can install a virus or nasty software in your computer. Others can bring unwanted, obscene links.

Antidote: Delete all mail from unknown senders. Refraining from posting mail ids on websites will also save you from spam.

-Annie Besant Jon