Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you purchase something using the link. Read the full disclaimer policy here.
It is critically important to provide a secure online computing experience to your child, not just in regular online activities, but especially now that the schools have turned to a virtual learning format to help reduce contact with others and attempt to prevent the spread of disease.
Just as we take special precautions to try and avoid real viruses, we should also pay special attention to our computing methods so as to avoid computer viruses. Why is this important? Computer viruses are programs that “open a door” and allow hackers and thieves back door entry to your information. Tech safety of all types is very important.
How do viruses get onto your computer?
A computer programmer creates a virus in the form of a .exe file which means executable. The executable file may download onto your computer via an image file or a link from a web page.
Why do hackers send viruses to our computers?
Hackers want to connect to your computer either to access sensitive login details or because they may be child predators. Other reasons people hack computers are less nefarious. Some just want to scare people or play jokes.
Ways that viruses can be downloaded onto your computer:
- Clicking a link that leads to a malicious website
- Hackers using chat and instant messenger programs to transmit files
- Emails that ask you to click a link or that download executable files via an image.
Ways to prevent viruses from getting to your computer:
- Set your email so that images don’t appear unless you specify after verifying that this is a safe sender.
- Get firewall protection and keep it updated. Zone Alarm is a well-known firewall and antivirus software that protects against any potential invaders to your machine.
- Install a good antivirus program. Many antivirus programs now offer a basic free version. You can then get enhanced services such as antivirus, firewall protection, malware, and adware removal all in one. You can pay to bundle these services together as opposed to maintaining individual free versions of all these features.
Why is it important for kids to use YouTube Kids?
YouTube Kids offers a kid-friendly format in that they filter out profanity and adult content which may include profanity, violence and adult themes. They also block video descriptions so that kids won’t be lured in by “clickbait” messages. These often lead to nefarious links containing computer viruses.
Are Apple products virus free?
iPads are supposedly immune to viruses (or it’s very difficult for them to get one), and as of 2020 this remains true. So, if your child uses a personal computer to manage virtual learning assignments, you may want to invest in an iPad.
How should I set up my child’s computer for safety and security?
Below find some tech safety procedures to put into place as your child becomes accustomed to the new and semi-permanent e-learning format.
- Settle on a reliable form of virtual storage. It is presumed that your child’s school work will be uploaded to the school’s private computer server. However, any files that don’t relate to school should be uploaded to a remote storage or cloud server.
- If you choose remote storage, such as DropBox, for example, you’ll be able to save files only. So if your computer gets a virus, you’ll have the files saved BUT you’ll have to start from square 1 with reinstalling any programs you use. You will also have to reconfigure any preferences for specific programs. This could take hours or even days of your time. With a cloud server, you get to store everything including desktop settings, programs, and files.
- Keep a clean machine. If a virus does attack your computer despite all the necessary precautions, the fastest way to return your computer to virus-free, normal working order is by reinstalling the operating system. You will need the original operating disk that came with your machine in order to do this.
- When you reinstall the operating system, any virus that might be your system will be wiped out. But unfortunately, so will all the installed programs and applications and all files you have saved. This includes images, videos, and word processing files.
This is why it’s critical to store your data on a remote storage device or on a paid cloud server.
There is no perfect protection
No matter how diligent you are at keeping your child’s computer protected, there are always some risks. Anything that has “multiple entry points” poses a risk. Any app or program that connects your child with other people online, whether it’s social media, chat rooms, gamers connecting with each other, or people commenting on videos and social posts, poses a risk. Here are some general tech safety rules.
Your child’s schoolwork computer should be separate from any personal and social computer use, including messaging and sending emails. Your child’s school should have strong security protocols in place on their secure server. The best way to keep it that way is to keep school matters related to school associates only.
Another good practice is to not share a computer with your child. Add layers of protection to your family computer by designating a specific computer to be used for specific purposes.
For example, don’t use your business laptop for your limited liability company to surf online or chat with friends.
Your child’s computer should be used only for the purpose of schooling and not for adult-themed internet surfing.
Nothing is completely perfect – or can provide perfect perfection. But these tech safety guidelines will give you a good base to start from.
- How to Support Your Kid’s Teacher During Homeschooling
- How to Make Your Home a Productive Learning Environment
- Homeschooling: Tech Must-Haves
- Include Life Skills
- Kids with Special Needs
- Dealing with Short Attention Span
Loving Life — The Reboot!