September 28, 2016

Teaching Your Children About Internet Viruses Online

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Your home computer is often one of the most expensive and vital pieces of kit you have in your home. The hardware and software you use on your computer can run to the thousands of pounds and needs to be taken care of. More and more of us are using computers for work, personal finances and shopping so keeping your computer safe is an absolute necessity. Furthermore, many of us share our computers with our families and children so we need to ensure that they are keeping them safe too. With that in mind we’ve put together a guide to teaching your children about viruses and how to deal with them.

What is a virus?
The first thing you need to teach your child is exactly what a virus is. Viruses are complex in themselves and explaining them to children can be difficult. For our purposes a virus is a type of computer program that can replicate itself and install itself on computer systems without you knowing immediately that it is there. It then can perform a variety of negative functions on and to your computer. When you are trying to explain to children what this entails you can use an analogy to a normal virus like a cold. Explaining how a cold spreads is much akin to how a virus spreads so forms a good grounding. You will of course have to explain it in more depth so you can explain that unfortunately bad people like to damage computers and steal people’s information. If your child is old enough you can explain this in detail if not just cover the basics.  

How do computers get viruses?
Having explained what a virus is we now need to teach our children how computers get viruses. Explain to them that many internet sites are unsafe and that downloaded material (both legal and illegal) can often contain viruses that will then install on your home system. The most common ways you can attain viruses are through downloading, accessing “dodgy” websites and from installing updates so guard your children against these common threats.  

What do viruses do?
Explaining what viruses do isn’t actually that complicated. You can explain that they damage the files on your computer and delete safety measures and other important elements of your computer. The most common viruses attack your important system files and delete your documents but many simply flash up warnings, display adverts or messages which severely slow your system down.

How to spot a virus
The most common tell ale signs of a virus are flashing messages, inability to access files, inability to access the internet, frequent crashes of your computer or internet browser and severe lag on your system. Teaching your children how to spot these signs is a very good way to keep them clued up about viruses.

How to remove a virus
Next you’re going to want to teach your children how to remove a virus. This is of course the most important step in teaching them about viruses and often the most complicated. Initially you simply want to teach them how to use your home security software. Remember to walk them through how to conduct a virus scan, update the software and how to remove viruses found with it. Finally, teach them how to find help online for viruses that your software fails to remove. This can be done easily by searching for the virus name itself (if you can find it) or alternatively searching for the “symptoms” of the virus or using the large number of online forums that deal with technical issues.

 

Your home computer is often one of the most expensive and vital pieces of kit you have in your home. The hardware and software you use on your computer can run to the thousands of pounds and needs to be taken care of. More and more of us are using computers for work, personal finances and shopping so keeping your computer safe is an absolute necessity. Furthermore, many of us share our computers with our families and children so we need to ensure that they are keeping them safe too. With that in mind we’ve put together a guide to teaching your children about viruses and how to deal with them.

What is a virus?
The first thing you need to teach your child is exactly what a virus is. Viruses are complex in themselves and explaining them to children can be difficult. For our purposes a virus is a type of computer program that can replicate itself and install itself on computer systems without you knowing immediately that it is there. It then can perform a variety of negative functions on and to your computer. When you are trying to explain to children what this entails you can use an analogy to a normal virus like a cold. Explaining how a cold spreads is much akin to how a virus spreads so forms a good grounding. You will of course have to explain it in more depth so you can explain that unfortunately bad people like to damage computers and steal people’s information. If your child is old enough you can explain this in detail if not just cover the basics.  

How do computers get viruses?
Having explained what a virus is we now need to teach our children how computers get viruses. Explain to them that many internet sites are unsafe and that downloaded material (both legal and illegal) can often contain viruses that will then install on your home system. The most common ways you can attain viruses are through downloading, accessing “dodgy” websites and from installing updates so guard your children against these common threats.  

What do viruses do?
Explaining what viruses do isn’t actually that complicated. You can explain that they damage the files on your computer and delete safety measures and other important elements of your computer. The most common viruses attack your important system files and delete your documents but many simply flash up warnings, display adverts or messages which severely slow your system down.

How to spot a virus
The most common tell ale signs of a virus are flashing messages, inability to access files, inability to access the internet, frequent crashes of your computer or internet browser and severe lag on your system. Teaching your children how to spot these signs is a very good way to keep them clued up about viruses. Try using a child internet safety strategy that teaches children a form of digital code such as ‘Zip it, Block it, Flag it’.

How to remove a virus
Next you’re going to want to teach your children how to remove a virus. This is of course the most important step in teaching them about viruses and often the most complicated. Initially you simply want to teach them how to use your home security software. Remember to walk them through how to conduct a virus scan, update the software and how to remove viruses found with it. Finally, teach them how to find help online for viruses that your software fails to remove. This can be done easily by searching for the virus name itself (if you can find it) or alternatively searching for the “symptoms” of the virus or using the large number of online forums that deal with technical issues.

Jane writes about internet safety for children and parents with a view to help raise awareness about the potential dangers online. For more information on this topic please see http://parents.vodafone.com/ which provides a wealth of information and support.

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