We are surrounded by incredibly powerful technology. Computers can store vast amounts of data, communicate over distance instantly, and provide us with nearly every bit of information that we desire. And because it is an incredibly powerful tool, familiarity with it gives a variety of benefits at all stages of life. No matter our age, if we are able to understand it and utilize it effectively, we can benefit from it. However, for younger users, there is always the risk that they may misuse this powerful tool. A car is a wonderful tool for independence and mobility, but you would not allow your 8 your old child to take your car for the weekend. Similarly, while a computer might not cause bodily injury, there can be sever damage done if a tool is misused by an inexperienced user.

If you have school age children, they probably frequently will use the household computer to complete school work. This might include doing research on a historical topic, preparing presentations, and learning to use software. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to malware.

Malware does not hit people indiscriminately. There is a reason that it is more successful among those who are less technologically literate. While even an expert might become exposed to malware from time to time, the majority of infections by malware will be accomplished when someone who is less technologically knowledgeable unknowingly creates a vector for infection. The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable.

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So what can you do to make sure that your computer isn’t infected by malware while in use by your child? First, educate your child about proper web safety. Make sure they understand that programs should not be downloaded without consent. Anytime downloading needs to occur, you should be present to ensure that the correct files are located and installed.

Second, a type of web filter could be used to prevent access to websites which are likely to be vectors for malware transmission. Many programs are available which can help to restrict access to potentially dangerous sites.

Additionally, do not store important data on a computer used by children. As these machines are at greater risk for infection, take the time to ensure that all important data (financial, business) is stored elsewhere. Also, routinely check for viruses. If there is any indication that the computer could be infected, take it in to a professional for virus removal. Routinely cleaning the computer is the best way to ensure that you do not suffer any setbacks as a result of malware.