Back to school means back to the Internet in many households. With computer-based research and homework assignments due daily, home computers can become contaminated with viruses and spyware that damage home computers. In addition, many children surf the Internet without the supervision of their parents, which can also lead to personal as well as PC threats. It is essential for parents — the home IT managers — to keep their computers — and more importantly, their children — safe while on-line.

“Internet use among children is staggering, but parental involvement in this activity can be virtually absent,” said M. Fahim Siddiqui, Chief Executive Officer, Sereniti, Inc., a next generation home networking solution provider. “Eighty-seven percent of kids ages 12-17 use the Internet and more than half of them go online daily. Pre-school children are actually one of the fastest growing groups of website visitors. Parents, and I am one myself, need a simple and secure way to protect children, home computers and personal data. That was a primary consideration in the development of our Sereniti Smart Home Network Service.”

Fahim explained that the Sereniti Smart Home Network Service is a subscription-based service that provides the latest parental controls, anti- virus, anti-spyware, firewalls and pop-up blockers for home computers with broadband Internet access. The advanced parental controls can be remotely accessed and revised by parents from any online PC, enabling parents to restrict or allow access at any time. Combined with Sereniti’s 24-hour technical support and automatic security suite updates, parents can breathe easier knowing they can control when and where their children go on the Internet and that viruses, worms and other threats are being stopped by Sereniti’s Smart Home Network Service.

“Recent research shows that teens use email almost as much as adults, and the kids use instant messaging far more. Surprisingly, only about half the adults polled said they use any type of filtering software to protect their kids online,” said Fahim.

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online

As an information technology professional and a devoted parent, Fahim offers these tips to help keep children safe online:

  • Utilize parental controls and establish access guidelines for your
    children, such as limiting the times they can go online and controlling
    which sites they may visit. Establish times that your children can
    and can’t access the Internet.
  • Keep the “family pc” in a visible and widely used part of the home so
    you can see what your children are doing online.
  • Instruct children never to provide any identifying information such
    home address, age, photos, school name, email address or telephone
    numbers to an unknown web site or in a public message such as chat or
    bulletin boards or over email. Do not share that information via email
    unless you recognize and know the person.
  • Teach your children safe Internet habits. Spend time with them while
    they are searching online and discuss possible dangers that are on the
    Internet. The Internet can provide needed family time and be used as a
    wonderful learning tool.
  • If children make friends on-line, become just as familiar with them as
    you are with the friends they make at school or in the neighborhood.
  • Teach children not to open emails from addresses you do not recognize
    or subjects that do not make sense or are suggestive. Never respond to
    email, chat comments, instant messages or other messages that are
    hostile, belligerent, inappropriate or in any way make you feel
  • Keep an open line of communication between you and your children.
    Establish rules for on-line habits and talk to your children about what
    they are viewing on-line. Create a list of rules and post them next to
    the computer.

“The Internet is a wonderful resource for families, but it must be used safely and securely, with appropriate parental involvement,” added Fahim.