A Beginner’s Guide to On-line Security by Wendi Finn is a short, 25-page workbook aimed at teaching Internet safety and security to tech-educated and non-technical people alike. It truly lives up to its subtitle of a “workbook for all ages.”
We’ve talked a little about the different reasons and ways parents can protect children from encountering inappropriate content on the web, (see The Learning Treehouse’s discussion of NetNanny Social), but by addressing overall online security, A Beginner’s Guide to On-line Security goes a step further.
A Beginner’s Guide to On-Line Security is Interactive
It gives parents a tool to learn side-by-side with their children the numerous ways you can be vulnerable online–and it helps you learn what to do about it.
Each short lesson, approximately one page each, is followed by a few activities used to promote discussion about the topic. URL’s to credible resources for online security information are also given at the end of some lessons, most of which come from government agencies or academic institutions.
Discussion points are included, and in some cases small group games are suggested that illustrate the methods and motivations behind those who commit cyber crime. They are family-friendly and easily parent led.
The online security topics covered in the book include:
- The technology of today, including general Internet usage.
The potential risks faced when using the Internet.
Online safety issues such as information privacy, identity theft and computer viruses.
Safe use of email and avoiding phishing attempts.
Social networking issues, such as what information to share and cyberbullying
An Easy-to-Read Format
The workbook is written in an easy, non-technical fashion. It uses common language and for the most part avoids technical jargon and acronyms. Internet safety vocabulary is introduced in a natural way, however, so readers will get the gist of what is being covered without being overwhelmed by geek-speak.
A very nice aspect of this book is that it not only teaches the online safety concepts to the reader, but it does so in a way that they can be explained to a child or a person who is new to Internet technology. Parents will easily be able to use the text to explain the underlying reasons for the risks of Internet use to their kids.
Teaching About All the Dangers
Some of the dangers of being online are more talked about than others. Most people know the term “computer virus”, and “identity theft” is used in the news frequently. This workbook does a great job of bringing to light some less-thought-of risks of using social media. It has great pieces of advice, such as not posting detailed information of when your family will all be gone on vacation, or your jogging route and time, both of which open a person up to physical security concerns.
The social media coverage slants toward talking about security with teens. Of course, teens, being heavy users of social media networks, can be especially vulnerable online, so that’s a good thing. Emphasized are explanations of the permanence and traceability of information posted online, and only engaging in Internet activities that they would not mind the world observing.