SOURCE: BluePhone

BluePhone

February 23, 2009 10:00 ET

BluePhone Personal Tech Experts Offer Five Tips to Make Computers Kid-Safe

Protect Personal Information, Keep Data Secure, and Put the Mind at Ease While Kids Surf Social Networking Sites

SAMMAMISH, WA--(Marketwire - February 23, 2009) - It's a wild, worldwide web out there, especially for kids who aren't always aware where their information goes. It's important to know what steps one can take to protect their children, personal data, and computer hardware when surfing the Net.

Stories come out frequently about tweens and teens that place themselves in danger by revealing personal or sensitive information. They might accidentally tell the wrong person their name, what school they go to, their home address, or where they will be after school. They could also post that information into a public area like a social networking site where anyone could read it.

According to an April 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project report entitled, Teens, Privacy & Online Social Networks, "32 percent of online teenagers and 43 percent of social-networking teens have been contacted online by complete strangers; while 31 percent of social-networking teens have "friends" on their social network profile who they have not met in person."

Here are five tips to consider from BluePhone (www.bluephone.com), the Personal Tech Experts that help consumers get maximum value out of their tech gear by eliminating the hassles, fears and runarounds by resolving problems with computers, peripherals and digital devices.

Using these helpful tips, parents can help kids explore and get all of the information they need on the Internet, avoid the things that can be inappropriate or dangerous, and keep sensitive information safe at home:

1. Firewalls & Antivirus Software -- Perhaps the most basic and universal rule, everyone should have current antivirus software running and make sure the firewall is enabled. This is as much of a protective measure for an adult user as it is for a kid. Viruses, spyware and malware lurk unseen anytime while browsing the Internet: if other safety measures present a weak spot, with a virus scan, an alert will be sent if there's been a breach of security. Popular providers include McAfee and Norton, but Windows does offer a built-in firewall that can be tailored for individual security needs.

2. Teach/Supervise -- Consider having "Internet rules" posted at the family computer station. These could include reminders to never share personal information with a stranger online; lists of restricted sites; which search engines are parental approved; along with such practical items as time limits for using the computer, and "sharing guidelines" when another sibling wants to use the computer. These will create structure around the computer time, and lay out quality ground rules for safe computer use.

3. Internet filters -- Internet filters block websites that have inappropriate content, or have been identified as inappropriate for young children and pre-teens. Internet filters have been around for a while, but they are much better than the overprotective filters of the past. There are many good options available for this type of software, and it will keep kids from mistyping web addresses, clicking on bad links as well as neatly curb any planned mischief! Two well-known applications are Bsafe Online and NetNanny.

4. Block outgoing content -- If there's a form to fill out, pictures to upload, a contest to win, or any number of other opportunities to share personal information, make sure it goes to the proper person. Some filters will even block outgoing content to ensure it gets sent to a "pre-approved" list or done with prior supervision only. To ensure that a computer can only receive content (and not sent all over the world!) consider procuring software that will keep information "safe and secure at home." CyberPatrol, NetNanny, and iProtectYou all include the ability to block outgoing content.

5. Kid-Safe Search Engines -- There are many search engines available that do not allow any lewd or adult content. With most of these options, every site that could show up has been screened for appropriateness (standard indexing that is done automatically could have some errant inclusions in its search results). There are many kid-safe search engines, such as Ask for Kids, KidsClick, and online encyclopedias like Encarta.

Many of these software programs and filters can be purchased at a local electronics store or purchased online, and some of the bigger providers like McAfee offer integrated safety and security packages. Additionally, certified tech experts such as BluePhone can ensure proper precautions have been taken, software is properly installed, and filters have been established.

About BluePhone

BluePhone is a leading online computer support company committed to helping our members get the most out of their PC, Macs and connected devices. Using remote-desktop technology by Cisco WebEx™ to diagnose, repair, and optimize your computer, we resolve hundreds of computer problems every day. Our success is measured by the quality of service and satisfaction we provide each of our members, and we are proud of earning a best-in-industry 98% customer satisfaction rating. BluePhone Personal Tech Experts are certified solution engineers who diagnose and fix problems that plague computer users daily -- security, configuration, desktop performance -- and things like how to organize digital photos or making sure your MP3 is giving you maximum enjoyment. BluePhone Personal Tech Experts are extensively trained and certified to resolve nearly any computer software problem, offer expert advice, and troubleshoot and fix hardware issues. BluePhone membership includes unlimited assistance for all the computers in a household (up to 3 PCs or Macs) for $199.95 per year, monthly membership for $24.95, or one-time service calls for $89. BluePhone offers a money back guarantee. Members get assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by phone, email, chat or remote computer access. For additional information, visit www.bluephone.com or call 877-442-BLUE (877-442-2583).

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Seth Geisler
    Martin Levy Public Relations
    858.610.9860
    Email Contact