Your personal data and the internet – advices for parents
Advise your child:
· To avoid providing personal information such as name, password, address, home phone, the school they attend, employment or work phone of their parents, as well as other personal information about themselves, their friends, you, their siblings or other relatives without your or their express permission.
· To avoid accepting meetings with persons they met in social networks, dating websites, forums, chat programs or otherwise via the internet without your knowledge and consent. They need to know that a person can have several registration profiles and can always be presenting themselves as someone else. This requires special attention to this category of websites with regard to the child`s safety.
· To avoid opening or responding to electronic messages/emails received from an unknown sender as they may contain viruses or programs which will damage the computer software or hardware, as well as allow unimpeded access to the information contained in the computer.
· To avoid responding to messages that are abusive, threatening, and obscene or make them feel uncomfortable, and in all cases inform you of such messages.
· To avoid sending their photos or the photos of their relatives without discussing their decision with you in advance. Explain them that the publication of their pictures or the upload of video clips in social networks and dating websites makes these materials available for a huge audience. Using a real-time webcam during a conversation with a stranger in chat programs produces the same effect. Easy access to posted photos or video clips may allow the persons who want to harm them to use those materials in way that may discredit them.
· To avoid trusting people who they met and communicate with in the virtual world, to avoid sharing with them their own personal data or such of their relatives, which may be of different nature but in its combination may lead to the identification of the child or their parents, brothers, sisters, friends, etc. Pay special attention to the rule of not providing and posting their name or that of their relatives and friends, their address, details of the school they attend, phone (landline or mobile). Disclosing or posting their name and home and/or school address on the Internet will allow each person who aims to find them in the real world to identify and reach them. Disclosure of any phone number, whether landline or mobile, may lead to telephone harassment by malicious persons, and the same may be used by them for discrediting acts and publications on and outside the Internet.
· To consult with you before downloading or installing new programs or any other software on the computer.
· To be careful and observe the following rule: things they make on the Internet must not harm other people or be contrary to the laws.
· To be careful when making new acquaintances and holding conversations in chats – people often present themselves as someone else when online.
· To share with you their ways of entertainment, the games they like, and the new things they learn from the Internet.
· To protect their passwords, not share them with anyone, and change them on a regular basis.
· In case they come across any information that scares or bothers them somehow, to share that with you or alert the Bulgarian Safer Internet Hotline: http://web112.net/, http://www.safenet.bg/ or http://www.cybercrime.bg/bg, through the panic button provided for this purpose.
Things you can do to ensure the child`s safety on the internet
1. Take personal responsibility for the online safety of your child.
2. Impose rules for the safe use of the Internet and monitor their strict compliance.
3. Place your computer in a common room/space. Placing the computer in a common room will enable you to become a side and not annoying witness of the web pages visited by your child, as well as all their visits, activities, discussions, etc., at least for the time during which you are together.
4. Hold regular discussions with the child on the dangers of the Internet and the methods of self-protection. Explain them the importance of protecting their personal data and those of their relatives and friends and not provide them to „online friends“, and talk to them freely about the abuse such data can be used for.
5. Create a user profile of your child on your home computer. Children must have their own accounts on the computer. This is a very effective way to control their activities on the internet. And another thing: the administrator of your home computer must be an adult. The account of the child must have no or limited administrator rights.
6. Install parental control software - the parental control software will allow you to limit the access of your child to websites containing inappropriate content, to introduce time restrictions in terms of computer use, to block the use of certain software, etc.
7. Spend more time with your children by: playing their favourite computer games or browsing websites of their interest, thus you will learn about their internet habits and behaviour, about their desires and interests.
8. Surf the Internet together and at the same time teach them safe and ethical online behaviour.
9. Become a friend of your child in the virtual world – register yourself in the electronic discussion groups, social networks, and chat programs they use/access which constitute a forum for sharing knowledge, information, video clips, and photos, holding discussions, making new acquaintances, etc. This will give you first-hand information on your child`s online behaviour.