internet safety for kids

3 things your kids need to know to be safe online


Remember when surfing the internet meant tying up your phone line?

Your kids probably don’t! This generation is more tech savvy than any previous generation, and some of these kids begin their internet experience even before they begin school. Here are three things they need to know about to be safe online.


1. Pornography

Make sure your child is educated about pornography: what it is, how it will harm them, and how it harms others. Online pornography is pervasive; it is almost certain that your child will be exposed to it. Does he or she know what to do when this happens? Come up with a strategy such as turning off or covering up the monitor and immediately finding a trusted adult. Teach your kids internet accountability, that they are responsible for what they view online.

We post articles frequently on our Clean Router Facebook page about pornography’s effects on individuals and society. These articles are a great resource for talking to your children about pornography.


2. Scams

A flashing banner inviting your child to click to claim a brand new iPad can be very tempting if he doesn’t know any better. Teach your children to avoid ads and to recognize illegitimate websites.

One popular scam is fake customer service numbers. Make sure your children know to never dial a customer service number unless it comes from the actual company’s website!


3. Privacy

It’s easy to forget that social media is a public forum. Remind your kids that if they wouldn’t put it on a billboard, they shouldn’t post it online or send it in a message. This includes messages that are supposed to disappear or be deleted and even “private” online storage. Several celebrities recently learned the hard way that nothing digital is perfectly secure. Teach your children how to adjust their privacy settings on social media but not to take that privacy for granted.

Giving your child online street smarts is just as important as reminding him to wear a bike helmet or talk to strangers appropriately.


Check out our other posts on helping your kids be safe online!


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Widespread Malware Campaign Hacks Over 100,000 Routers

It’s a not-so-happy Halloween for over 100,000 families this year.


A new malware campaign dubbed “GhostDNS” has hacked over 100,000 home routers in an attempt to steal passwords and other login information, particularly targeting online banking information. The Hacker News breaks down the technical details of GhostDNS here. This attack comes only a few years after the infamous DNSChanger, a similar malware system which infected millions of computers in 2012 and again in 2016.


We’re happy to report that Clean Routers were NOT affected by this attack. Our robust security system and constant monitoring (made possible by our monthly subscription model) allow our team to keep up with the latest malware threats. We update the Clean Routers regularly to guard against the newest online hazards and keep our ear to the ground for signs of a cyber attack.


TLDR? If you have a Clean Router, we have your back! If you don’t, now is the perfect time to order. Let’s make this Halloween all treats, no tricks!


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You may think this internet safety rule is obsolete– It’s not

We all heard it from our mothers: “Never talk to strangers.” Then the internet came out, and our mothers doubled down. If talking to strangers in person was risky, talking to strangers online was simply begging for disaster. We made pseudonyms and kept all identifying information off-line.


MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles made the internet seem smaller. Safer. Most people use their real names online now, and convenience has led us to handle everything from homework to photo sharing to banking online. We give out our mailing addresses on eBay and Craigslist, and we assume the person on the other side of the screen is more or less like us. And most of the time, we’re right.


And yet…


Our kids are getting a little too comfortable talking to strangers online. While we as adults have been around the block a few times, they don’t notice the red flags. This dad described on his blog how his daughter became a target for a human trafficking ring through making friends online. Police are deeply concerned about SnapMaps, a SnapChat feature that broadcasts users’ location for any of their online friends to see.


The person on the other side of the screen may be a normal teen or tween, just like your kids. But the person on the other side of the screen could be anyone. Profile pics can be stolen, birthdays can be falsified– online, anyone can make a new identity. Teens just don’t have the life experience to pick out the predators.


Parents, monitor your kids’ friends list. Ask questions. Know who your kids talk to online. Have a family rule– don’t talk to strangers online. Enforce it. The principle of “Trust, but verify” will serve you well here!


The internet may feel smaller, but the predators are still there. And, as the lines blur between online and offline, it’s far too easy to forget the dangers.


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Talking to Your Young Children About Pornography

Too many parents, when picturing talking to kids about pornography, imagine gathering teenagers around them for a conversation about sexuality, addiction, and violence. However, statistics indicate that that the average age of initial exposure to pornography is eleven years old. Other anecdotal evidence reports that many children see pornography as young as second grade. Clearly, if you are waiting until your kids are teenagers to talk about pornography, you are waiting far too long.


If you are squirming at the idea of talking about sex with a seven year old, though, you are not alone. While some parents do enlighten their children on sexuality at this age, other parents want to wait a little longer. So, how do you guard your young children from pornography in an age appropriate way that fits your family’s values?


What many parents do not realize is it is not necessary to talk about sexuality to teach your children about the dangers of pornography. As April Perry explains in this Deseret News article, many of the values of pornography are the antithesis of respect. Violent pornographic content, for example, is degrading to both parties, and so therefore indicates a lack of respect. To quote Perry in the article:


“You don’t have to tell a 5-year-old, ‘Pornography is graphic and violent and teaches us to disrespect each other, so we don’t look at pornography.’

Instead, try this: ‘Do we hurt each other for fun?’ No. ‘Is it funny or nice to watch other people hurting each other?’ No. Or if you’re really feeling bold: ‘What if someone tries to show you a yucky movie or pictures of people hurting each other? Is that something we should look at?’ No!”


The values we are already teaching our children (respect, kindness, integrity) are the same values that will protect them against the lure of pornography. We may have to make the connection for them, as the above quote demonstrates, but we have already laid the foundation by teaching them prosocial behavior.


Parents, guarding your young children against pornography is vital, and it’s easier than you think. Teach them to respect and care for others, maintain those values in your home, and make the connections as they grow. Then, your children will be able to not only recognize pornography, but to see why it has no place in their lives.



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