Stay Safe Online

Children and the Internet

The internet offers a huge range of opportunities to children. There are a vast range of websites geared towards knowledge and learning, as well as ways to communicate with their friends and the wider world. This type of communication, however, can come with pitfalls. Messages may appear that seem like they are from a friend but really are clever viruses that will infect the user’s PC. Or worse, it could be an unknown person pursuing the child.

“We know from our experience that whilst the internet offers great opportunities, there will always be people that seek to exploit it to abuse children,” A spokesperson from the National Crime Agency's CEOP command.

There are a range of digital security issues that need to be considered when anyone uses the internet. This especially applies to children, and here at Computers 4 Africa we take these issues very seriously. Children using the internet can be exposed to the same dangers facing adults, such as viruses, spyware and malware. There are, however, sites that are designed to target children with promises of “free stuff” and links through to “fan sites”. Anything a child may be tempted to download, such as ringtones, pictures, music, etc., can be something harmful unless it comes from a reputable source.

“Computers and the internet offer an array of information, are highly educational and can be a lot of fun! Here at Computers 4 Africa, however, we recognise that it can be easy to get carried away when surfing the net.  We urge schools in Africa to be diligent about digital security and to take necessary measures to keep children safe online,” Sharon Roberts, Head of Marketing.

 

Advice from KCC and SWGfL

A leaflet provided by Kent County Council stating:

“To keep children safe they should:

  • Ask permission before using the Internet and discuss what websites they are using.
  • Only use websites you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine.
  • Only email people they know, (why not consider setting up an address book).
  • Ask permission before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know.
  • Not use their real name when using games or websites on the Internet, (create a nick name).
  • Never give out any personal information about themselves, friends or family online including home address, phone or mobile number.
  • Never arrange to meet someone they have ‘met’ on the Internet without talking to an adult first; always take an adult and meet in a public place.
  • Never tell someone they don’t know where they go to school or post any pictures of themselves in school uniform.
  • Only use a webcam with people they know.
  • Tell you immediately if they see anything they are unhappy with.

 

South West Grid for Learning’s Ken Corish in the technical team offers this advice for our recipients:

 

The world is a big place and a first dive into the internet and in particular social media like Facebook or Twitter, puts the world and its inhabitants at your fingertips. It’s a very powerful feeling and there are great opportunities to be creative, funny, clever, interesting and likeable. 

With these new opportunities comes responsibility too, not only to keep your self safe from any harm but also those around you too. Just as you would for any other adventure, make sure you are equipped for the journey and be prepared to make the right decisions.

  • On social media build up your friend lists with those that you know and trust. Better still create "friends groups" so you can talk differently to different groups, not just the same message to everyone
  • If something makes you feel uncomfortable back away from it: end the conversation, block them and then tell someone who can help
  • Give yourself some time away from being online; too much of anything is a bad thing
  • If you use online services, try to keep the information you have on them safe. Passwords are a lot more important now than they ever where as they secure the gateway to where your stuff is. Create a strong password that is hard to guess and, like door keys, keep them to yourself.
  • If somebody posts or says things about you that you don’t like ask them to remove it. If they won’t, then ask your social media provider to remove it. You can challenge stuff that you don’t like.
  • Make sure your online presence is one that people admire and trust by being positive and a valuable and trustworthy online friend. It will help keep you safer and will also be what people see when they search for you online. Important if you are trying to impress a future boss or university

The world is a big place and most people in it are good. Make sure your online life is a good one.

If you want to know more about keeping children safe online, please see the Kent County Council Website: http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/protecting-children/online-safety.

 

Viruses and Data

When it comes to keeping computers secure from viruses and malware, Computers 4 Africa install an open source (legal to install by us) Antivirus program called ClamWin. It does not run in real time so the user has to manually run a scan or schedule a scan but updates are easy to download and install from a memory stick. Also, there are many free for personal use programs that can be installed by the client, including Microsoft Security Essentials. These programmes have to be installed by the end user to comply with licencing, and many of the schools we supply will take up this option.

It is also vitally important that our donors feel secure with regards to their digital data.  We data wipe all memory devices up to Ministry of Defence standards and can provide a certificate to prove this.

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Computers 4 Africa is a Working Name of Digital Pipeline a registered charity in England and Wales 1118674
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