The Internet can be a great place to play games, research homework assignments, keep in touch with friends, and just find out random pieces of information. Children are very intelligent when it comes to using the Internet. They are able to navigate themselves all over finding music, friends, games, and help with homework, just to name a few things. Even though children may be a bit more Internet savvy compared to their technologically challenged parents, it doesn’t mean that children should be allowed to run loose. Parents need to guide and teach their children about Internet rules and safety.
Where to begin
For children to understand about Internet safety and unsecure websites, it is important for parents to explain what secured and unsecured websites are and the differences they have. Younger children probably have no idea that there are different types of websites, some more dangerous than others. They may not understand that there are people on the Internet searching for other people’s personal information. Parents should explain to children that there are thieves on the Internet that would like to get names and important numbers from other people so that they can use them for themselves.
What are secured websites
A website that is considered secure uses some type of encryption when transferring data across the Internet. Sometimes sites that do use encryption when transferring data across the Internet are not necessarily considered secure. Encryption ensures that no one is able to sniff the information and take all of the data a person is submitting on the site, but sometimes some sites still have some type of vulnerability. There are certain security checks that sites can perform to ensure the information is secure and that it is in fact a secure website.
What are unsecure websites
Websites that are mainly used for regular browsing are usually not secured websites. This means that they do not use a type of encryption when transferring data across the Internet. Hackers are easily able to steal information from unsecure websites.
Hackers and sniffers
Parents should tell children that there are people called hackers or sniffers that steal information as it is transmitted over the Internet. When children enter in information and press enter the information is sent. If the website is secure, the information is encrypted and hackers and sniffers cannot read it easily. If the website is not secure, then the information can easily be taken.
One way that children can protect their information is by not entering it in any website that is not secure. This is one of the best ways to keep personal information safe. Parents should explain what information is personal. A child’s name, phone number, Social Security number, address, birthday, account numbers, credit card numbers, etc are all personal numbers that should be guarded carefully. Children need to understand that when they enter in personal information onto an unsecured site it is possible that someone could steal it and possibly their identity. Parents should explain to children that it is important for the child to talk to their parent(s) before they enter in personal information into any site.
How to know
Older children are usually able to make better decisions than younger children. If the parent feels that their child is responsible enough to handle making decisions about what websites they should and shouldn’t enter their personal information, the parent can explain to their child about ways to know that the website is secure.
When a person is on a site they can tell if the site is secure by looking down at the right hand corner of the site. In that area of the website there should be a small box. If there is a yellow padlock icon there then the website is secure. If there is no yellow padlock and the box is empty then it is an unsecured website.
Another way to see if the website is secure is by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with [https://] then the person is on a secured webpage. If the URL starts with http:// then the website is not secured.