How Old Do Your Children Have To Be Before You Teach Them Computer Security?

When most of us have kids we want to be able to protect them forever. As you get older you know that there are some things in this world that are beautiful and that there are some things in this world that are ugly. You do not want to expose your children to the ugly side of life but you have to because they will face it sooner or later anyway. You cannot keep your child sheltered in the house because when they do go outside they will not be prepared for it. The only way to prepare your child for what they are going to face is to expose both the good and bad to them. That way they will be ready to go out on their own.

This is the same theory that goes along with your child on the internet as well. It doesn’t matter how many nanny programs you install on your system to stop your child from being exposed to the ugly side of the internet, they will find it eventually. The internet is a wonderful technology that has both helped and hurt us at the same time. You will have to eventually show your child the dark side of the internet as well. This is because if you do not then when they are surfing on a computer that does not have nanny software on it they will not know what to do. But when do you expose them to the dark side of the internet is the question? When do you teach them how to protect themselves on the internet? That is what this article is about.

How Old Do Your Children Have To Be Before You Teach Them Computer Security

Teaching your kid about web sites to avoid

As every parent out there probably knows, when you tell your kids not to do something that only makes them want to do it more. If you tell them to not look at rated R movies then there is a good chance that the first time you are not around, their curiosity is going to get the best of them and they are going to watch that rated R movie. Just to see what it is like. The same thing goes with the internet as well. They want to see the bad sites that their friends are looking at. It might be an adult web site or it might be a place where they can download free music. Wherever it is, there is a good chance it will be a place that can infect your computer with malware.

You want to give your kids a good reason why they do not want to go to sites like those. It has to be a better reason than you are going to punish them. Tell them how not only the content is inappropriate for them at that age but also they have the possibility of messing up your computer if they go to sites like that. Tell them that there are bad guys on the net who will try to sneak into your computer and make it do bad things. That is why you have special software running to stop anything like that from happening. They might not understand it at first but at least they will feel as if you tried to talk to them about the situation and not just ordered them around.

Teaching your kids about malware

While talking to your kids about web sites that they should avoid maybe awkward, it is probably easier to have a conversation about how to protect the computer that they are on. As I said in the previous paragraph a good talk about the bad guys on the internet will help to protect both your kids and the computer that they are using.

When you are talking to your kids about the malware problem of the internet, you want to be sure that they are able to understand the conversation. If they are too young to be able to grasp the conversation then there is a good chance that they are too young to use the internet alone. You must be able to explain why it is not a good idea for them to click on every link that they run across or download every piece of software that they find. Talk to them about how bad guys will turn your computer into a zombie and they will take control of it. By using vivid imagery when you are talking to your kids, you make it that much easier to make your point. Also make sure that you show them how to scan files that their friends or family might have sent them. The number one way that a piece of malware is able to spread is through people that they might know. So tell them to scan everything just to be on the safe side.

Your child is going to have to find out about the dark side of the internet at some point. The sooner that you show them about it the better.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Good article Lee an yes its been passed around as usual, even on Google+.

    • I’m signed up for Google+ but not found time to really get into it yet. What are your views on it Dave?

      • I like it Lee, i have been staying there more than any of the others places i use.
        At first its a little difficult to get the hang of but once you do – you are off an running.
        I have started posting quite a bit of security related stuff there now.

  2. “Your child is going to have to find out about the dark side of the internet at some point. The sooner that you show them about it the better.”

    I couldn’t agree more, awareness at a younger age can’t be a bad thing.

    • Indeed – I think many parents would be shocked if they knew what kids could find on the internet and at just what ages they are finding it!

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  1. […] teach them how to protect themselves.The amount of protection that you give your child should all depend on how old they are. If your child is ten years old or younger then you need to make sure that they do not go on the […]

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