Tech Talk #38 – November 12, 2016

As grown-ups, you probably know the basics of how to stay safe when you’re on the internet, but how about your kids? Have you had ‘the talk’ with them yet?


If not, here are some things you can cover:


Cyberbullying – Kids can be bullied online just like they can at school. Cyberbullying can include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. In fact, 35% of kids between 11 and 17 years old have been cyberbullied in the last year. Encourage your kids to talk to you if they’re being bullied online. If you suspect they are but aren’t talking about it, ask them about it and them you know you can help. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Tell the bully to stop by writing something like “Please do not contact me ever again. Please do not email me, text me, phone me or contact me in any other way.”
  • Do not respond to the bully ever again.
  • Make copies of all communications from the bully.
  • Contact the proper authorities. You can report bullying to chat room moderators, the phone company, your Internet Service Provider, the principal of the school, or Facebook depending on where the cyberbullying is taking place.


Protect their privacy on social media – People can get a lot of information about you from your social media accounts. Identity thieves and cyberstalkers look through your posts for information about when you’re away from home, who your friends are, and what new things you may have. Here’s how you can help:

  • On Facebook – block users you don’t trust or people who have had their accounts compromised in some way, set your child’s private/sharing options to friends only, and only allow their friends to post on their timeline.
  • On Twitter – set your child’s Tweet Privacy to “Protect my Tweets” so only approved users can see them.
  • On Instagram – make their Instagram account so only approved people can see their photos and videos on Instagram.


Don’t post something they’ll regret

Remind your children that the internet has a long memory. Once a social media post is set free into the wild internet, it can roam out there forever. Let them know their posts reflect on them and the person they are. Their posts can affect their education, job opportunities, and even future relationships. So, be nice.


Being civilized when they’re online

It may seem like there aren’t any rules or consequences for misbehaving when people hide behind their screen instead of meeting face to face. Let your children know there is no excuse for not being the nice person you’re raising them to be. If they wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, they shouldn’t write about it.


Downloading in-app purchases without realizing it

That great addicting new game all their friends are playing might be free, but it probably has in-game stuff they can buy, too. It saves a lot of time leveling up or getting character upgrades by using in-app purchases, but it can leave everyone with a huge bill, too. Here’s how you can remove the ability to make purchases on their device:

  • On iOS devices: Go to General > Restrictions and create a passcode then go to Allowed Content and turn off in-app purchases.
  • On Android devices: Open the Play Store app choose Menu > Settings and under User Controls tap ‘Set or change PIN’ then click ‘Use PIN for purchases.’


Passwords – you knew it was going to be on here, right?

Most people over 16 years old have the same password for most, if not all, of the sites they visit. If a bad guy gets your child’s Facebook password, he may also have their Twitter and Steam account passwords, too. Here’s how you can help:

  • Make sure they know never to share one of their passwords with their friends.
  • Help them create secure passwords by making sure their password is 12 characters or longer, doesn’t use any names or easily guessed facts, has both upper and lowercase letters, uses numbers, and some punctuation, too.


Quote of the week

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.

Bill Gates – an American business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft, which became the world’s largest PC software company – Wikipedia

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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