Are Your Kids Safe Online?

Online is where everyone’s at! We live in a world where information travels fast and we can get all that we want just with the click of a button. In this digital age, one thing that often scares parents is the safety of their children online. What if the virtual world tightens its dark claw around your little one? Scary thought, isn’t it?

Here are some ways for you to make sure that your kids are safe on the internet:

Get Tech Savvy:

It is our duty to make sure our kids understand what online safety really means and to follow some ground rules about sharing information on the internet. But to do that, you have to be an informed parent first. We can not ask our kids to use Snapchat carefully if we do not even know what Snapchat is! Getting a little tech savvy does no harm, it will only keep you updated with the world.

Talk to them:

Nothing beats communication. Tell your kids about the dangers of the internet and what can happen if they are not careful enough. Just have a fair conversation with them, keeping your prejudices aside. Let your children know that you will be there for them if they ever face anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Run virus scans:

An anti-virus is an important component of internet safety that most of us tend to ignore. Run routine scans for viruses and malware to make sure your safety is never compromised. If you go online, make sure you only stay on safe and trusted sites. Whether you want to shop or play bingo online, look up for the security certificates before you put in your financial details.

Online safety is a huge concern and should be treated so. Use these tips and remember to stay safe!

The Value of a Photograph?

Family photographs were once something to be put into family albums, to be shared with friends and relatives, and to be pulled out at embarrassing times once your children are grown up and dating. (You know exactly what I’m talking about – the naked ones on the change mat!!!). But these days were are less likely to print out our photographs, and are growing more and more wary of sharing them online. Do we now value our family photographs less than we did in the past?

We can share our photographs so much easier these days, Instagram is hugely popular, as is Snapchat, and Facebook still has the capacity for us to create album after album. Yet, In order to take a closer look at how we now value photographs and to find out how much we worry about their reach in the online world, www.cartridgesave.co.uk asked 1040 people aged over 18: “Are you happy sharing photos of your children online?”

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I share some family photographs on my Instagram feed.

The results were surprising. Despite living in times when oversharing seems to be the norm, and life doesn’t seem to be happening unless it has an online footprint, the results found that 83% of parents who responded to the survey were wary of sharing photos of their children online, while just 17% were fine with it.  There are worries about photographs being stolen and used for insavoury purposes. Even photo storing and secure accounts have been hacked, with high profile stars like Jennifer Lawrence falling victim. It’s no wonder that although we seem to want to share, we are wary and uneasy about possible consequences. (You can read more about the survey here.)

Speaking about the study, Ian Cowley, Managing Director of Cartridge Save said:

“Our lives are now lived online; it’s a culture to take tens, if not hundreds of photos a day and share them with friends, family and strangers – what we’re doing, what we’re eating, where we are. It seems that photographs, now that they are no longer limited by cost, are rarely printed and kept safe so have lost their value and become worthless to us – they can always be deleted and replaced with another, better, selfie or snap of your meal.”

He continued with a warning:

“Despite assurances of online safety, once photographs are shared online, their reach is no longer in your hands. Even if they are deleted from a social site shortly after being uploaded, or even if you upload them to an account that it set to be private, the photos will already be backed up in servers around the world that may be vulnerable to hacking.”

 

Despite all this, I still can’t see us going back to a time of photo albums. I love flicking through old photographs, but have you actually tried to buy a nice album recently? They are getting harder and harder to find, and more and more expensive. The answer may be that we have albums on our laptops, smart phones and ipads that we keep all to ourselves, only sharing impersonal snaps on our online outlets.

What do you think?

Shopping and Saving Securely: Strategies for Buying Online Without Getting Burned

The benefits of online shopping are nothing to brush under the rug, but making purchases electronically also carries risks. To get great deals and stay safe, keep these tactics at your fingertips.

 

Keep on Top of Security

 As Mike Homnick of PCWorld points out, basic techniques such as keeping your browser updated and installing a top-notch malware protection application can reduce the odds that a cybercriminal is successful with an attack. Additionally, check that you see a padlock icon in the url bar as you shop or make your payment to vendors through third-party sites, such as Paypal. This icon, along with https:// rather than http:// preceding the website address, indicates that the website is secured with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Online payment services also can provide more protection in that they often allow you to transfer funds without giving the retailer your credit or debit card information, all while protecting you with unauthorized transaction coverage and monitoring for suspicious activity. Using only secured network connections and sticking to only well-recognized retailer applications are additional tips. Finally, find and verify the phone number and physical address information for the company you’re considering buying from, as the National Cyber Security Alliance recommends. Legitimate businesses readily supply this data to prove they’re valid enterprises, as well as to facilitate good customer service.

Internet Security

Insist on the Minimum

 Many great retailers ask you for a little more information, such as your email address, for niche marketing or customer service purposes. Some pieces of data, however, such as your Social Security Number, specific date of birth or driver’s license number, have no marketing or delivery value for a legitimate seller. If you can’t place your order by providing your name, address and credit card/third party payment option, be suspicious. The fewer fields you have to fill out, the better.

 

Be Willing to Compare and Research

 The online market is incredibly competitive. If you buy from the first retailer you see, you might miss finding a better price from another seller, especially when you take into account that some websites offer incentives like cash back. Take the time to shop around, and don’t forget about options like Flipkart coupons, which can reduce your bill even if your primary seller isn’t offering a deal. As you compare vendors, read as many reviews as you can, not only about the product you’re interested in, but about the sellers themselves. Aim to use only retailers that have satisfaction rates of 99 or 100 percent during the process, and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to be absolutely sure the good reputation you’re seeing is valid.

 

Keep Documentation

 Documentation such as confirmation emails or transaction numbers can assist with refunds, exchanges or other problems. Terms and conditions, price pages and product descriptions also fall into this category.

Assume a Return

 Although you hopefully won’t need to return what you order, never buy anything online unless you’re aware of the seller’s return/refund policy. Many vendors won’t take back products without receipts, return numbers or original packaging.

Conclusion

 Online shopping can be a convenient way to get what you want or need, provided you take steps to protect yourself. Simple strategies greatly reduce the chances you’ll have a bad experience.

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*Kim Simmons uses his retail experience to hunt out his own bargains online. He also likes to share his tips with others online and writes for a number of consumer and lifestyle websites.