It amazes me how many people do not consider the Internet/Phone Line when it comes to the safety of their home. Your phone line can be another “front door” to your house. Do you want to leave it open and allow access to your home/kids? And also allow them to venture out so to speak, from the comfort of the computer desk and chair?

I am surprised when I ring some people, very young kids answer the phone ahead of mum and dad. I would love to (but won’t) demonstrate how easy it is to gain their confidence and gain important information from them before an adult comes to the phone. Do you have an alarm, does mum live with your dad, how do you get to school etc? Put the phone up out of reach, let it ring unanswered if you cannot take the call. There is absolutely no merit in pre-schoolers and younger children answering your phone.

They will only take a few minutes you are told. Really you don’t have face to face contact with the other person, flag them away. Donations over the phone……the phone is a very poor way to solicit donations, again, flag them away. People wanting to fix your computer, hang up on them.

Review your child’s cell phone regularly if you think they need a phone, remember we all coped without one as kids. There have been some tragic cases of cyber bullying, even in good old NZ. The new “cyber-bullying laws” are good but prosecuting people after you have lost someone dear to you is too little too late.

Check the content of text messages and who they are from. Do not allow them to take their phones to bed, they are likely to have them on silent/vibrate and keep them under their pillows. Cell phones are radio transmitters and should not be in close contact with the body. Get them to leave their phones on the kitchen bench when not in use so that you are sometimes the first person privy to viewing incoming texts. Try and avoid giving them a data plan with the phone, they can visit any site they want otherwise, sites that you may have already blocked them from at home (see below re data connection).

Do you post to Facebook from other parts of the world/country. If so, many people now know your house is vacant. If you like to tell everyone where you are when travelling (and therefore not at home) make sure your house is alarmed.

I need convincing that young children need social networking accounts. If they must have them, the computer should be in the family room so you can check from time to time what they are up to. You should also run a program that filters out all the pornographic links. Do you want your kids looking at hard core porn because the links to it come up even when searching for something totally unrelated. It is only a mouse click away. Consider using OpenDNS to provide a safe intenet connection throughout your home.

Letting your kids do anything on your computer (Social networking and downloading sites in particular) could expose your computer/home-network to all sorts of nasties and me thinks mum and dad will have to pay for the computer tech to come and fix things.

BACK UPI go to burglaries where people have lost their photos and personal data when their laptop has been stolen. Back up your files to another hard drive that is hidden away, or consider cloud back up services.