Protect Your Teens against Spam

OK…so we all are equipped with textbook knowledge of spams. We have basic ideas of how to protect ourselves from these monsters that, as security reports warn us, are multiplying at an accelerated rate. But how do we go about keeping our tweens and teens safe from spams? How do we teach them to (a) identify spams, and (b) avoid them?

 Identifying spams

  • E-mail Spams: These targets individual users with direct mail messages. Your inbox is flooded with many copies of the same message. Such mails are mainly promotions of questionable products, attractive discount offers or get-rich-quick schemes. Today, the nature of spam mails is increasingly becoming unfitting, offensive or malevolent.
  • Facebook Spams: These are mainly in the form of lurid videos. When an unsuspecting victim clips on such a URL, a malicious javascript is copied into their browser and gets shared with all the contacts in their address books. 
  • Online Games Spams: Many online games allow players to contact each other. Spammers usually try to sell game-related “items” for real-world money
  •  Smartphone Spams: Spams on smartphones are worse than those on the PC because Spammers can reach the user through email, SMS, MMS, Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth

 How do you protect teens from spams

  • Install advanced security software with Email Filters and Spam blockers: Though most e-mail services today offer built-in email filters, it is a good idea to install family protection software that offers additional protection. The software will automatically identify spam by keywords (eg: win, , last day) and direct it to the trash folder. The spam blocker blocks the spams from entering the system. It scrutinizes the mail server at regular intervals and deletes spam and associated viruses
  • Block the sender: Once you have identified a spam sender (it maybe the compromised id of a friend or relative too), block the sender. If the person is known to you personally, inform him/her that his/her id is sending out spams
  • Whitelists: You must be present when your kids set up their e-mail accounts. Help the child create a “whitelist” containing email ids of only trusted and approved people. This includes relatives, close school friends etc. The security software will allow mails from only these people to go directly to the child’s inbox, and block all others.
  • Teach kids to identify spams on Facebook: They must learn to check the URL before clicking on any links. Also, they’d do well to avoid clicking on any videos that call for permission to access data. Finally, always opt for secure browsing, i.e., the URL address should be preceded by https//. Look for more details here.
  • Accidental clicks on Spam URLs: If they have clicked ‘share’ on a spam post on Facebook, they must immediately log out from Facebook, clear all browser cookies, cache and temporary files, restart the system and change Facebook password. They’d also do well to post a message on their walls, describing the spam and warning their friends not to click on it.
  • Spam on Online Gaming Sites: If it’s a multiplayer game, leave the game or remove the player from the group and report him
  • Monitor your kid’s account: As I keep stressing, don’t let children surf scot-free. Keep an eye on their email accounts and FaceBook pages. Repeatedly tell them to bring any suspicion of spam to you, for their own good and protection of the PC

 Enjoy online activities, but stay safe!

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Story added 16. March 2012, content source with full text you can find at link above.