Tech corner

How to protect your children from malware

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This is something that the Industry Trust, a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of keeping children safe in the digital world, has long been focusing on, whether it is through campaigns or research projects.

It is a well-known fact that young people are spending more and more time online than ever before, and begin to use technology and social media at an increasingly early age.


By the time they become teenagers behaviours have often already been entrenched in their minds and the idea of internet safety becomes harder to teach.


Partner this with recent research which has shown that an increasing amount of young people are being exposed to explicit images and video or becoming victims of hacking as a result of malwares, and the need to educate them in how to stay safe online becomes even clearer.


This is something that the Industry Trust, a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of keeping children safe in the digital world, has long been focusing on, whether it is through campaigns or research projects.


Some recent research from the Industry Trust which looks into children’s awareness of malware (malicious software that causes harm through obtaining personal information) and its consequences raised some alarming findings as highlighted below:

Nearly one in ten (9 per cent) young people have been personally affected by malware.
Forty-one per cent of 11-15 year olds stated they were aware that downloading or streaming films and TV programmes from illegal sites could result in viruses or malware ending up in their devices.

Tips to protect your child from malware

1. Agree digital boundaries together
Put in place a family agreement to help your child understand what is acceptable online behaviour and when it is safe to open or download files.

2. Keep an active interest in your child's digital life
Knowing what they do online will help you to understand where the potential risks are and step in to offer support and guidance.

3. Create a safer space for them with controls and privacy settings
Using digital tools like network controls on broadband, antivirus programmes on devices and privacy settings on social apps can help limit the potential of your child being exposed to something that they may not be ready for and act as the first line of defence to keep them safe online.

4 - Equip them with the tools to make smart choices
Show them how to use report tools to flag inappropriate content on the platforms they use. Give them support on what to do if they are faced with a difficult situation online to give them the confidence to deal with it and build their digital resilience.

5 - Keep the conversation going
It’s good to talk. And keep talking. Keep talking to your child about their online world as it develops. The internet can be a great tool for learning and expanding horizons – but new dangers arise all the time and both you and your family need to be aware of them.

KCOM is an official supporter of online safety organisation Internet Matters as part of its drive to help local parents keep their children safe in the digital world.


Internet Matters is backed by the UK’s biggest broadband providers and supported by leading online child safety experts. Its website offers a host of e-safety resources and advice for parents on issues including online bullying and making sure children don’t have access to inappropriate content.


Advice is organised into useful guides aimed at different age groups, ranging from the under-fives to teenagers. Parents and schools are able to download these resources for free from the website www.internetmatters.org.

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