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Digital Authority issues ‘net safety’ advice to parents

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The Authority for Digital Security on Tuesday warned parents about cyber risks for their children and offered advice on keeping them safe.

In an announcement, issued for the start of the school year, the Authority listed internet dangers which included the interception of private data, misinformation via the presentation of fake or altered information, unwanted messages that may include ads, provision of fake services or pornographic material, promotion and reproduction of inappropriate content of violence, racism, gambling.

It also noted dangers of internet addiction, bullying, alienation from the real world, from spending too many hours on the net, and the way strangers using anonymity see young as easy prey. Viruses and other malware installed on the computer without the user’s knowledge, are also noted.

The authority’s first advice to parents was to familiarize themselves with the tools and the digital world utilized by minors and to inform their children of phishing via electronic mail.

Secondly, it advised frequent checks and updates of electronic devises, the creation of joint accounts with their children, installation of parental oversight software on their children’s devices and the limiting of the time spent on the internet.

The publishing of photos or video clips online should also be done with parental consent, the authority advised.

Moreover, it advises that users should keep their passwords secret and never agree to meet individuals they have come into contact with over the net. Caution is also advised when in a chatroom, in which no private information should be given.

Other useful actions included not opening emails received from strangers, not using unreliable devices such as USB sticks, avoidance of over-sharing on social media and paying attention to open Wi-Fi hotspots as they are not encrypted thus enabling anyone to record data transmitted through them.

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