Children and the Internet
The internet offers a huge range of opportunities to children. There are a vast range of websites geared towards knowledge and learning, as well as ways to communicate with their friends and the wider world. This type of communication, however, can come with pitfalls. Messages may appear that seem like they are from a friend but really are clever viruses that will infect the user’s PC. Or worse, it could be an unknown person pursuing the child.
“We know from our experience that whilst the internet offers great opportunities, there will always be people that seek to exploit it to abuse children,” A spokesperson from the National Crime Agency's CEOP command.
There are a range of digital security issues that need to be considered when anyone uses the internet. This especially applies to children, and here at Computers 4 Africa we take these issues very seriously. Children using the internet can be exposed to the same dangers facing adults, such as viruses, spyware and malware. There are, however, sites that are designed to target children with promises of “free stuff” and links through to “fan sites”. Anything a child may be tempted to download, such as ringtones, pictures, music, etc., can be something harmful unless it comes from a reputable source.
“Computers and the internet offer an array of information, are highly educational and can be a lot of fun! Here at Computers 4 Africa, however, we recognise that it can be easy to get carried away when surfing the net. We urge schools in Africa to be diligent about digital security and to take necessary measures to keep children safe online,” Sharon Roberts, Head of Marketing.
Advice from KCC and SWGfL
A leaflet provided by Kent County Council stating:
“To keep children safe they should:
South West Grid for Learning’s Ken Corish in the technical team offers this advice for our recipients:
The world is a big place and a first dive into the internet and in particular social media like Facebook or Twitter, puts the world and its inhabitants at your fingertips. It’s a very powerful feeling and there are great opportunities to be creative, funny, clever, interesting and likeable.
With these new opportunities comes responsibility too, not only to keep your self safe from any harm but also those around you too. Just as you would for any other adventure, make sure you are equipped for the journey and be prepared to make the right decisions.
The world is a big place and most people in it are good. Make sure your online life is a good one.
If you want to know more about keeping children safe online, please see the Kent County Council Website: http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/protecting-children/online-safety.
Viruses and Data
When it comes to keeping computers secure from viruses and malware, Computers 4 Africa install an open source (legal to install by us) Antivirus program called ClamWin. It does not run in real time so the user has to manually run a scan or schedule a scan but updates are easy to download and install from a memory stick. Also, there are many free for personal use programs that can be installed by the client, including Microsoft Security Essentials. These programmes have to be installed by the end user to comply with licencing, and many of the schools we supply will take up this option.
It is also vitally important that our donors feel secure with regards to their digital data. We data wipe all memory devices up to Ministry of Defence standards and can provide a certificate to prove this.