Internet safety for families

Home computers are often shared with every member of the family, including children and teenagers. Both online shopping and the downloading of software or files need to be discussed or supervised by adults to make sure your personal and financial information remains safe and secure.

Vancity is please to provide members with tips and suggestions the whole family should follow before shopping online or downloading files, games or other software. Remember: Before allowing any family member to use a computer for online shopping, be sure to read our section on Safe and smart online shopping.

Shopping on trusted websites
To increase security for online shopping, teach younger family members to look for:

  • A Better Business Bureau (or similar organization) quality assurance seal that links to the appropriate website
  • A closed lock icon on the browser frame, which indicates that only you and the website can view financial transactions
  • An "https" (the "s" stands for secure) included in the website address displayed in the address box of your browser

The items listed above can be forged, so it's important to encourage your children to ask you before they make purchases online. That way, you can be the final judge as to whether or not a website is safe.

Avoid downloading spyware
If your kids surf the Internet, chances are they're going to want to download free games, free music, animated toolbars and other programs that may expose your computer to spyware or other unwanted software. Here are a few steps you can take to help your kids download and install software more safely:

  • Monitor downloads. Keep the computer in a place in your home where it can be easily monitored. If your children are under 10 years old, you may want to be with them when they’re online at all times.
  • Research games, programs and software before downloading them. Use your browser to search for reviews and comments before downloading to your computer. Especially for younger children, consider adding websites that you feel are safe to your favourites list, and only allow your children to download software from those sites.
  • Give your child a limited user account. Windows XP and Mac OS X both allow you to create multiple user accounts for your computer. Each user can log on separately and has a unique profile. Set up limited user accounts for children with restricted controls that will help prevent them from downloading programs that may contain spyware or other unwanted software that could compromise your online banking security.

For more information and suggestions for keeping your children safe online, visit the Government of Canada’s Healthy Canadians website.

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