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Our computers and laptops store a huge amount of personal information that needs to be protected at all times, making it crucial for young people to understand the importance of security. Be sure your child is fully aware of the risks that exist while online if they are not careful, their computers can become an ‘open book’ for cyber criminals.

Knowing how to secure electronic devices and use them safely is the key to keeping young people safe and their personal data out of the wrong hands. Here are seven ways to help them maintain computer security:

1. Install security software. Make sure your child’s computer has anti-virus and anti-spyware protection installed and that it’s set up to scan the computer at least once a week.

2. Never skip an update. Keep browsers, software and operating systems updated. Tell your child to accept all update prompts and turn on automatic updates wherever available. 

3. Give the browser a boost. Your child’s computer likely came with a pre-installed browser, but its default settings may not be fully secure. Make sure that you and your child follow the next two tips for web browser security, whether the browser in use is pre-installed or added after purchase.

4. Customize browser security settings. Whichever browser your child is using, help them choose browser security settings that are as safe as possible without affecting the user experience.

5. Clear the cache and browsing history. Avoid leaving behind a record of login IDs, passwords, banking information or other sensitive data. Show your child how to access and delete their browser history and cache data and stress the importance of logging out of all accounts when shutting down.

6. Watch what you download. When downloading files from the internet, be sure your child uses caution and that they are interacting with a trusted source only. Always use anti-virus software to scan downloaded files before opening and immediately delete anything flagged as dangerous.

7. Use a passphrase or complex password. Even if your child is the only one using a computer, ensure the use of a strong log-in password and that computer access is locked after use. Your child should never write down a password and store it near their computer. 

The internet is a wonderful resource for today’s young students, but maintaining security and protecting personal information at all times is crucial. Be sure your child is aware of the threats that can exist while online and how these best practices will help keep them safe, happy and productive students.

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