Most households have a family computer of some kind and many of us worry about the uses our children might put the computer too or the damage they can potentially do to themselves and the computer with unwary access to inappropriate and harmful material in one form or another. With that in mind we decided to put together a guide to securing your home computer to make it as safe online as possible for your children’s use.
Home security software
The first thing that you should ensure you have is proper internet security software – or antivirus software as it is often called. You should make sure you have internet security up and running at all times and that regular updates are scheduled for the software. Regularly updating your software means that it is equipped to deal with new threats that arise online and that you are less likely to suffer from infection. You should schedule weekly scans of your computer, ensure that your settings allow all downloaded files to be scanned and that your software prevents you from accessing potentially harmful sites.
User control settings
If you have multiple users for your home computer it is worth setting up separate accounts for each member of the family. This way you can tailor the administrative privileges and settings of each user so that you can maximize the internet safety of younger members of the family. Initially you can set up a designated control user by accessing the control panel settings of your system. From here you can create an administrator for the system and give them accessibility privileges. This allows you to designate what files and settings your children can have access to from their user panels and what changes they are authorized to make. This includes options like the ability to install new software or deactivate security software or firewalls. Having these options under parental control goes a long way to ensuring that your children don’t come to any harm when using the internet.
Your firewall is your first line of defence against users attempting to access your computer and you should make sure it is installed and running at all times. A firewall basically blocks anyone trying to remotely access your computer from a third source. People attempt to do this in order to implant spyware and viruses on computers and to steal private information. You want to ensure that your firewall is active and that the administrative user has sole control over its activity.
Parental control software
When your children are at a young age all internet use should be supervised. When they reach slightly greater ages though, you may wish to install parental control software to safeguard them further. This software blocks inappropriate and harmful content from web searches and ensures that your children don’t access content that is inappropriate for their age. Choosing to use parental control software allows you to monitor your child’s online activity and prevent them accessing material that could potentially damage them and the computer itself.
When setting up a computer for family safety try and keep it in a central location where you can keep an eye on family members using the computer. Also try and guide them through appropriate online behavior and safety techniques and features so that they can protect themselves when your supervision is no longer required.