Most of us won’t want to admit it, but keeping up to date on internet security is something we’re all a bit relaxed on. So much so that your kids may end up knowing more than you. Good thing then that McAfee has come up with an initiative to help parents out.
“Parents are concerned there are things going on online that are quite harmful for kids, but parent’s aren’t necessarily taking action,” said Melanie Cole, McAfee’s Consumer Marketing Programs Director. “A lot of the times, they [the parents] can be afraid, they can be very insular because they’re not familiar with the technology.”
McAfee says that much of this happens because the children end up becoming the IT experts in the family, effectively making them the ones in charge of the online world and removing that responsibility from the parents.
To help combat this, McAfee has designated Alex Merton-McCann the “Cybermum”, a mother of four that will be running a blog for McAfee designed to help parents become more aware of what their children are doing and to keep the responsibility firmly in their control.
“As a mother of four children, I know how overwhelming it can be for a parent to keep up with what their children are doing online,” said Mrs. McCann. “As a Cybermum, I can talk to other like-minded parents about how to best educate their children about responsible internet usage, help them take control for their own peace of mind and to raise awareness of the online issues concerning parents.”
While many of the issues up for discussion are about social networking and Internet security, others are about how children and teenagers access computers, with the obvious difference between most parents and their kids culminating in confidence levels of who has what skills in computers.
“Managing your tech savvy teens – these are really big issues because they think they know everything,” McCann said this week. “If you’re downloading new security software, they’re assuming that this is something they should be doing because they’re the boss.
“But I say no: do it together. It might be a good opportunity to negotiate parental controls. Do it together, but don’t get psyched out by it, because it’s not that hard. Don’t underestimate yourself.”