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Nov 2015

How To Keep A Good Digital Reputation

As children get older it is inevitable that they will start using social networking sites. Within these sites they will be encouraged to share all aspects of their lives – thoughts, opinions, feelings, pictures etc. – thus creating digital traces of themselves across the internet. However, what they probably fail to realise is that the internet keeps a record of everything we do online. In other words, it creates an “online reputation”.
It is vital for children to understand how to manage their online reputation because once information is uploaded to the internet, it can be very easily and very quickly shared around. This in turn could affect their friendships, leave them open to cyber-bullying and even affect their job prospects (many employers and university admissions teams check social media profiles when researching candidates). Yet a digital footprint is incredibly difficult to remove.
You can help your child keep a positive presence online by ensuring they understand the long-lasting effects of their internet activities and that their online reputation is created not only by what they post about themselves but also by what others post about them.

  • Emphasise the fact that it’s almost impossible to keep things private online. Even friends or family members could pass on messages you’ve asked them not to.

  • Children should never post anything online they don’t want thousands of people, including their family, to see.

  • A computer screen may give the illusion of distance between them and the other people they are communicating with, however being online is the same as living in the real world.

  • Always ask permission before tagging a friend online and never post inappropriate pictures. Watch out for photos tagged by their friends and remove any that are offensive.

  • Stop & think before posting a comment online. They could end up hurting someone or being hurt themselves. It is easier for comments to be misunderstood when typed rather than spoken.

  • Ask your child to tell you about all their email and instant messaging accounts and what the passwords are, thus allowing you to monitor their activities. Don’t feel guilty about it - you’re only giving them a false sense of security by letting them believe that privacy exists on the Internet.

  • Ask them to “friend” you on all their apps. This may not go down well but it could be one of the conditions for you allowing them to access social networking sites.

  • When your child stops using a social networking site, deactivate or delete their account.

Keeping Your Family Safe On-Line

Keeping Your Family Safe On-Line

 

The internet is a fantastic resource with its millions of websites, apps, games and online communities, and just like thousands of other parents, I want my child to learn how to use it safely and responsibly. Unfortunately, it’s nigh on impossible to watch what our children are doing every minute they’re online. The increase in use of mobile devices in particular makes it even harder to keep tabs on what they’re watching or playing when they are out of sight. So, how can we help our children to stay safe on-line?

 

  • Start discussing online safety at an early age. Explain that just like the real world, there are safe and unsafe things on the internet. Some good questions to make the point are: If you leave the house, would you leave the front door open? Would you tell a complete stranger all your deepest secrets? 
  • Talk about protecting private information and never sharing passwords with anyone, even friends. Advise them that for extra protection they should create different passwords for different sites.  
  • Try to avoid having your child use the computer or device whilst hidden away. It is best to set up a computer in a family room with the screen facing outwards.  
  • Do read website and app ratings before allowing your children to visit or download them. If you wish to see which websites your child has been visiting, look at the browser history.  
  • Let your child know that it is perfectly OK to tell you, a teacher or another adult they trust if they are not happy about something they’ve seen or been asked to do whilst online.  
  • Ask them not to download files (music, games, movies or pictures) or install software or apps without asking. Turning off in-app purchasing capabilities on all devices should help.  
  • Ensure parental control software is installed on your devices. This will restrict the sites your child can access and prevent them from sharing sensitive information, such as name, age, address, phone number etc. Should your child accidentally access an unsuitable website, delete it from the 'history' folder and add the address to the Parental Control Filter List.  
  • It is important to install internet security software on all devices and make sure it is regularly updated.
 

For further helpful advice, we recommend the following websites:

http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety

Back Ups Part 2

As mentioned in the last blog, this week I’d like to focus on how to back up your entire PC system. Losing the data on your computer can be devastating. At best, maybe you’ve lost your finely crafted CV; at worst, you’ve lost every photo of your children through the years. It’s terrifying to think that one day you could lose all your data, but it doesn’t have to be the case if you regularly back up your hard drive.
File History in Windows 10 is our recommended way to create a full backup. Not only does it automatically create backup copies of your files, you can also use it to restore all your files if you ever lose them, restore a single file or go back to an old version of a file.
Before you start, you will need to buy a good external hard drive, of which there are 2 types:
  • Portable hard drives are easy to transport and are powered by your computer’s power supply.
  • Stationary hard drives tend to stay in one location for most of the time and require an external power source.
Once you have plugged in your hard drive, you can start your back up:
  • Open the Settings app in Windows 10, click on Update & security, then chose Backup from the menu on the left hand side.
  • You can now select the drive you want to save the backup to – your external hard drive should be listed in the drop-down menu. Click on it and voilà, File History is now backing up your data!
  • An on/off slider will now appear under a new heading called "Automatically back up my files."
File History will back-up all the folders in your User folder, so to add other folders, click on More options under the on/off slider and scroll down to "Back up these folders." Add a folder by clicking the "+" at the top of the list. You can also specify any folders to exclude from the back up so that they don't take up too much space on your drive.
Also within the More options section, you can adjust how often the backup is performed and how long the backups are kept for.
For added security, we also recommend that you:
  • Back up regularly. After an initial full backup of the entire system, set up automatic backups, which store only what has been changed or added, thus saving disk space.
  • Test your recovery plan. There is nothing worse than discovering your backup doesn’t work!
  • Always complete a full back up before installing new programmes, updates or drivers.