On Wednesday April 23, MOREnet hosted its Internet Safety Night. Sites all over the US connected to this important program- including several St. Louis, MO! The excellent keynote speaker was James Finch, Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division.
Finch admitted first thing that at the FBI there was no bigger advocate of technology, including the Internet, than him. He also added he is the parent of three- two daughters in their twenties and a four year old son. All are on line.
+ The United States has highest rate of “computer intrusions” – hacking
+ The FBI has the Innocent Images National Initiative – where undercover agents work to bring on line predators to justice: http://www.fbi.gov/innocent.htm
Finch emphasized “the Internet has changed our lives for the positive and it still holds so much promise… I want to heighten awareness.”
How do we heighten awareness?
It is important to talk to your children about the Internet, as you do when they learn to swim, learn to drive, etc. As Finch noted, “the Internet should not be a babysitter” – it will not take care of itself when it comes to the safety of children.
You must have an Internet Safety talk with your kids.
Here are Finch’s talking points:
+use strong passwords, don’t share passwords!
+maintain your operating system- download updates/patches because they fix programming flaws that become security vulnerabilities
+anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-phishing programs important
+use parental control software (emphasize it is out of concern, not to police them)
+make sure wireless router is configured properly
+change your network name
+using encryption features on wireless routers important
+decide which computers are allowed on your network using MAC filtering list- the unique address for your network card
+set this rule: no Internet after 9 pm (Internet access policy)
+talk about Internet chats, social networking sites, peer to peer networks, and e-mail
+ask who is on your child’s buddy list
+emphasize once you hit “send,” you can’t get it back!
+let your kids know you will be reviewing their computer time to time
A note: this is NOT a one time only talk. According to Finch, “Internet Safety is not easy, it is not quick, but it is not rocket science, either.”
Finch’s keynote was followed-up by a panel of experts who discussed issues like identity theft, spam, legal issues, how to monitor your kids while they are on the computer, and on line predators. Missed it? In St. Louis, Charter Communications will air the program soon. ISN programs will also be available on line: http://besafe.more.net/isn/.