Internet Safety

Tips for online safety, security and privacy.

Are you protecting your privacy and data online?

Data Privacy Month

February is Data Privacy month. Are you protecting your data online? Are your kids aware of the data they share every day when using apps and social media? Take this short quiz and see how you’re doing. Have your kids take the quiz too! Then learn about your rights as a parent regarding what companies can do with your children’s data.

Digital Parenting, Hollywood Style: Do’s and Don’ts from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt


In a recent People magazine interview, Angelina Jolie mentioned that she and her husband Brad Pitt have hired a cyber security team to monitor the Internet and social media content that their children encounter. I’m sure that most any parent would agree that keeping tabs on what your kids are doing online is a daunting task. But is this the right approach? Here’s where I think Brad and Angie have gone wrong and what I suggest they do instead.

Viruses, Malware, and Hackers – oh my!

Binary computer code

Like a lot of you, I do some shopping at Target and today I signed up for free credit monitoring. Target is offering this to their customers following last year’s data breach when hackers gained accessed to credit and debit card information. While most of us don’t have home computing systems as large and complex as Target’s, we likely store personal and private information on our home PC’s. What can the average home user do to keep our systems safe? Here are some tips in a guest post from Randy Bunnell, an information security consultant.

Are your kids hiding their web activity? Learn about the pros and cons of Private Browsing


I was chatting with some friends recently and the conversation turned to how creepy it is when you are surfing the web, and suddenly every website seems to know what you’ve been looking at and searching for. I’m sure almost everyone has encountered this situation. It seems like Big Brother is watching us all the time. What’s a privacy-seeking person to do – other than unplug completely? Try private web browsing. This is a feature available in all current popular web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, and on many mobile devices. settings for Safety and Privacy (to the extent that is possible)

This isn’t an article warning of the dangers of using; you can find that online already. I wanted to offer some advice to parents whose teens already use this service. If you read some of the articles on the web and say “no way!” that is totally understandable! These are simply suggestions for settings to use if you should decide it’s okay for your teen to continue with As a parent you know your kids best and set the rules you are comfortable with.

Sextortion – What it is, and what parents can do to help prevent it


The second TV segment I appeared on, which aired last Friday, covered the topic of “Sextortion”. Sextortion is a situation where a predator gains access to private information or images of someone, and uses it to blackmail the victim for even more compromising photos or videos. The predator may use trickery – one pretended he was Justin Bieber in an effort to lure young girls. Anyone who uses social media or chat sites should be aware of this possibility. Here’s the story from WCSH. Watch the video and then read on for tips and suggestions for parents.

Be Web Smart on TV – Dangers of Online Chat Sites


One of the most visited articles here on my site is about Omegle, an anonymous chat site. I recently had the opportunity to talk about this topic with Sharon Rose Vasnziz of WCSH 6 in Portland, Maine. She found my site during her research for this segment, and came to interview me last month. I’ve had to keep quiet all this time until the segment aired today!

5 Simple Actions to Keep Your Family Safe Online

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This October is the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The more research I do on internet safety, the more it becomes clear how important it is for us as parents to be involved with what our kids are doing online to help keep them safe. And by online, I mean on their computers, phones, tablets, iPods, and video games. I know it can be overwhelming for parents, especially those who feel they are not “tech savvy”. That is why I created Be Web Smart! So for Cyber Security Awareness month, I’m asking you to do JUST ONE THING from this list. Any small step you take will help keep your kids safer online.

Family Media Agreement

Back to school - a good time to re-establish rules with a Family media agreement

It’s that time of year again – back to school! The kiddos are getting ready to go back to school or may have started already. My daughter will start high school soon. It was a fun summer, but she definitely spent more time online than usual. While we have rules about technology and screen time, I have to admit we let some of them slide this summer. I suspect I’m not the only one (please tell me that’s true!) So it’s the perfect time of year to re-establish the ground rules with a Family Media Agreement.

Have you Googled yourself lately? Control your digital footprint

Your Google digital footprint

I recently caught up with an old friend I hadn’t seen for several years (actually, a former beau from waaaay back when). He asked about work and I mentioned that I had started publishing this website. He replied “I know. I…well….I Googled you”. My mind started to race. What else could he have learned about me from a Google search? How well am I controlling my digital footprint and how do I make sure my daughter learns how to control hers?