Staying safe on Skype

Over the years, Skype has risen to become one of the most popular video calling services in the world.  Naturally, youngsters have taken to the Platform too, as it provides an easy way to stay in touch with friends without having to worry about racking up a huge bill. Whilst this might be great for a teenager’s social life, it can leave parents concerned.

If you’ve ever wondered who your kids are actually talking to on Skype, or worried about whether they’re giving away too much personal info, then this post is for you. As well as giving you some handy tips for staying safe on Skype, we’ve also written a quick guide for setting up secure privacy settings for your kids.

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 Skype Safety Tips

  1. Use a secure password and keep it private. Avoid using dates of birth and family names. You should also ask your children not to share their passwords with friends.
  2. Don’t include personal info on your Skype profile.Info such as location, phone number and date of birth should be kept private.
  3. Never reply to people you don’t know. Don’t respond to messages, contacts, phone calls, video calls or screen sharing requests from people that you don’t know.
  4. Never reply to emails which request personal data, such as passwords or bank details. Skype themselves will never request any personal information via email, so report any emails that do.
  5. Be cautious of messages that insight urgency or panic. For example, if you receive a message saying “Your account will be closed unless you follow these instructions” do not click on it and then report it as spam.
  6. Don’t click on unknown URLs. If someone sends you a link, first check to see if you trust the sender and then check to see if the URL is a legitimate site i.e. www.skype.com or www.youtube.com. If you’re concerned that you’ve already clicked on a malicious link, please change your password immediately.
  7. Get the right privacy settings in place. To adjust privacy settings on a PC, open Skype and click Tools : Options : Privacy. To adjust them on a Mac go to Skype : Preferences : Privacy. Here you can set your preferences for receiving communications. For children we recommend selecting the following options:

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By default Skype will restrict the privacy settings on users under 16 years of age, however it’s always best to double check your children’s settings and the age they used when registering.

We hope you’ve found our “staying safe on skype” guide useful and that you’re already taking steps to keep your kids safe on Skype. If you’re worried about your children accessing inappropriate sites, or you’re just concerned that your kids are spending too long on social media, HomeHalo is here to help. With our router & smartphone combination you can set up age appropriate filters and time limits for all of your children’s devices. To find out more about how HomeHalo can keep your family safe go to: www.homehalo.co.uk

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Your digital footprint

There’s been a lot in the press recently about whether our security services are spying on our Facebook messages and Tweets, that I was reminded of my own experience with GCHQ.

Back in 1994, when having a fax machine was deemed ‘current’, I was asked if I would provide a personal reference to an old friend of mine as he was going for a promotion that required another level of security clearance. Now given that I was brought up in a part of the UK with a large number of military establishments and naval bases this request did not come as surprise. As an upstanding British citizen with nothing more than a couple of speeding tickets to my name I had been asked to do this on a couple of occasions.

This time however, they wanted to interview me. So at the given time, I opened my front door to a man who looked like he had arrived straight from the 19th century, clearly an ‘establishment fellow’, with the only thing missing being the bowler hat – a truly intimidating character.

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We sat down and he started to flick through the pages of a huge manila file, it had to be 3” thick. Trying to fill the silence I quipped “goodness me, you have a lot of information on Peter!” To which he responded, and to my amazement “Oh this isn’t Peter’s file my dear – it’s yours”

I wonder then, as we are now living in the digital age, how much information is available to organisations about our children?

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Eight years ago when I joined a global UK Telecoms company, the security checking took 6 weeks! These days companies can find a whole load of information online in seconds. Our children need to really think every time they post, tweet or snapchat, as anything they put ‘out there’, can and might be used against them!

As the next generation grows and matures they could find their past coming back to haunt them. Our kids often don’t think about the future, so we’ve set up a check list to help your teenagers keep a clean digital footprint:

Digital Footprint Tips

1. Keep it private... Make sure your children have secure privacy settings on their social media accounts. Avoid posting anything publicly and make sure only close friends and family can see their posts.

2. Think before posting... Explain to your children, that posts are often there forever & could affect them later on in life. Think: Would you want future employers or even future friends seeing that photo?

3. Online vs real life... Set clear ground rules for how to behave online. If you wouldn’t do it in real life don’t do it online!

4. Google yourself…. Try searching your name online and see what comes up! If there’s something you don’t like try contacting the site to see if they can take it down.

5. Have a spring clean… Make sure your kids remove any unused social media accounts and that they check through their social media photos regularly to delete any unwanted images.

For more info on how to set the right privacy settings for your children, check out our privacy settings guide: www.homehalo.co.uk/blog/privacy-settings/

With HomeHalo you can set time limits on each of your children’s devices to ensure they aren’t spending too long on social media. You can also set age appropriate blocks to ensure they don’t come across any inappropriate sites. Click here find out how HomeHalo can keep your family safe: www.homehalo.co.uk

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Privacy settings on Facebook & Twitter

Social media has become a central part of the lives of today’s digital youth, forming a platform for children to communicate with friends and learn about the world around them. In fact, research has shown that 59% of children have used a social network by age 10, and over half of all adolescents log on to a social networking site more than once a day.

As the time children spend on social media increases, so do the dangers they’re exposed to. In fact 12% of teens say that they witness cruel behaviour on social media frequently. Bullying, harassment & contact with strangers are just a few of these dangers and are a worry for most parents.

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As parents, the first thing you should do to protect your kids is to ensure they have the right privacy settings in place on their social media accounts. In this guide we’ll walk you through how to apply basic privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter.

Protecting you children’s Tweets

On twitter your children can select “protect my tweets”, so that only their approved followers can see their tweets. Simply follow the instructions below:

1.

  • Sign in to Twitter
  • Click on your profile picture in the top right hand corner of your browser.
  • A drop down menu will then appear
  • Select the “settings” option.

Twitter Settings

  • Next, select the “Security and privacy” option from the left hand menu

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2.

  • A menu will then appear offering various security and privacy options.
  • In the privacy settings we recommend that your kids check the box that’s says: “Protect my Tweets”. This will ensure that strangers and future employers will not be able to see their tweets.

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  • We also recommend that they select the box titled “do not allow anyone to tag me in photos” or “only allow people I follow to tag me in photos”. This will ensure they aren’t tagged in any unwanted or upsetting photos by strangers.
  • To further protect their privacy you should un-check the box titled “Add a location to my tweets”. From this menu you’ll also be able to delete any past location information that twitter has stored about you.

Setting privacy settings on Facebook

1.

  • Sign into your Facebook account.
  • Select the downwards arrow in the top right hand corner.
  • A drop down menu will appear.
  • Select “Settings” from the menu.

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2.

  • A new screen will appear.
  • In the left hand menu select the “privacy” option.
  • A screen will then appear to the right offering various Privacy options.

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3.

  • For children we recommend working through the list and selecting the strictest privacy settings.
  • In the “who can see my stuff?” section select “edit” and ensure that “friends” is selected. This will ensure that only approved friends can see your posts.

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4.

  • In this screen you can also select who can send your child friend requests. We recommend selecting “friends of Friends” for this.
  • We also recommend selecting “Strict Filtering” for messages. This means that messages from unconnected users will be filtered into your child’s ‘other’ inbox.
  • You can also select who can look you up using your email address & phone number, as well whether you want search engines to link to your timeline. We recommended selecting ‘no’ for this option.

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As parents we understand how difficult it can be to monitor your kids in the constantly changing world of social media. Hopefully this post has helped you make Facebook and Twitter a bit safer for your kids. With HomeHalo you’ll be able to limit social media use by setting time limits. You can also activate Homework Mode which lets your kids use the web for homework, whilst distractions like social media and gaming are blocked. To find out more about how HomeHalo can protect your kids’ online, click HERE.

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