Go Ask Mom

Tips to keep your children safe online

Whether it's homework or virtual school, many children are online a lot!

Posted Updated
Cyber security concerns rise for online learning after intruder hack
Kathy Hanrahan
, Lifestyle Editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — Whether it's homework or virtual school, many children are online a lot!
To get some tips to keep your children safe online, we asked Triangle dad Russ Munisteri, who is the Assistant Director of Education at MyComputerCareer. He gave us some great ideas and some technical instructions on how to set up parental controls.
What browser extensions or internet extensions can parents set up to avoid their kids visiting inappropriate or sketchy websites?

Configuring proper parental controls is crucial with children on the internet. Children today are “Digital Natives,” which means they were born into this digital world. Children need to understand that anything that is shared on the internet will remain on the internet forever.

According to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, 30% of children between the ages of 8-14 use the Internet in way that their parents will not approve, such as use of webcams, utilizing parents’ credit cards to make purchases, and disclosing personal information. Additionally, 37% of children have inadvertently visited websites that were meant for adults and 20% have purposely visited inappropriate sites based on curiosity.

To reduce children visiting inappropriate websites, I highly recommend parents configuring parental controls (access controls) on home Wi-Fi routers.

  • First, identify the brand and model of your Wi-Fi router.
  • Second, if you are not sure how to configure parental controls, contact the manufacturer for assistance.
  • Third, depending on the embedded options in the Wi-Fi router, you can limit access to categories of inappropriate websites or domains, block websites or domains by key words, or block individual website or domains, such as example.com.

Additional access controls:

  • Regulate online usage
  • Avoid usage in private
  • With computers in bedrooms, have the screens face the door, so you can monitor online behavior.
  • Keep devices in a central location, such as a living room.
What tips should students learn to identify potentially dangerous emails, links or attachments?

Phishing campaigns are very common and happen daily. Never trust emails scare tactics and attachments from senders that you do not recognize. I good rule-of-thumb is to have verbal confirmation that an email with an attached is being sent.

With emails that have embedded links, hover your mouse over the link and see if the link aligns to the website in question. For example, an advertisement email has a link that appears to be legitimate, but when you hover your mouse over the link, the domain is showing something completely different. I would avoid that.

Is two-factor authentication necessary for students?

Absolutely! Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of protect for an online account, especially for school and social media accounts.

What should a parent do if they think their student’s account or device has been compromised?

The first thing to do is to change the password to a complex password (10+ characters, upper/lower case letters, numbers, and symbols).

  • If at home, remove the device from the network so further damage cannot progress.
  • If an account, report the incident to the school or whomever is responsible for the account.
  • Educate your children on online safety.


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