Introduction for parents
Some of you may be wondering, Where are
all the horror stories and warnings about how to protect kids from
sexual predators in chat rooms? Whatís all this talk about
viruses and firewalls and protecting the computer? Surely thatís
not as important!
And youíre rightóprotecting teens from
online predators is important. And donít worry, there is a
chapter on online behavior and privacy in the book. But online
protection is a subject that is and has been widely spoken about.
Most teens have heard about it. Youíve talked to your son or
daughter about it, right?
None of the teens that Iíve dealt with
have had a truly dangerous online experience. Yes, some of then
have engaged in questionable discussions (meaning things you would
probably disapprove of), but as often as not they were the ones
lying about who they were, and they clearly understood that the
people they were talking to were probably lying as well. They knew
better than to give out personal informationóit was just a game.
But most of them have suffered a computer
security breach. Iíve helped many clean up after viruses and
worms. Iíve seen numerous cases where a stolen password allowed
someone to impersonate someone else, and have even seen
friendships jeopardized in the process. Iíve seen teens have
their machines hijacked by hackers and locked out of their own
e-mail or instant message accounts.
Itís not enough for teens to know not to
give out their personal information online or arrange to meet with
strangers. Teens today need to understand the fundamentals of
computer security. They need to know how to protect their
computers and their privacy. They need to know about programs they
download that might spy on their activities. They need to know how
to protect their passwords and why.
This book will teach your teens the most
important things they need to know. It wonít protect them from
every possible threat, but it will protect them from the kinds of
security issues that they are actually dealing with already on a
routine basis. It will help them stay out of trouble, and help
them fix problems once they occur.
Appendix C has more information to help you
as parents. Meanwhile, you donít have to do a thingóbesides
getting your teens this book. Itís designed to teach them to
help themselves. Though in truth, unless youíre already a
security expert, it probably wonít do you any harm to read it as