Spam is commercial email that is sent out in bulk to millions of people without their consent. It is may contain advertising messages for regular products and services but increasingly, it is email of an inappropriate, offensive or malicious nature.
Today, many children have an email address that they use to email their friends, submit homework, etc. It is a fun, inexpensive and instant way to keep in touch. However, as the volume of spam keeps rising, the need to protect children from the dangers of spam is a growing concern.
Like all other Internet users, children are just as susceptible to receiving spam as are adults. And because spam is an equal opportunity menace, kids are just as likely to receive spam that contains adult and pornographic material. While there is really no way to totally eliminate the possibility of your kids receiving spam, there are steps you can take to minimize it. Here are a few:
Here are a few tips to help protect your kids from spam
Your email service comes with email filters built in. You can use these to filter your child’s email into specific folders, and filter spam into the trash folder. This involves setting up rules that your email program will follow in determining what action to take on incoming messages: to let it through to the inbox, send it to trash or to block the sender.
Your email spam filter program will apply these rules based on certain words in the subject line or body of the email. For example, if an email contains the word “viagra,” it will be sent directly to the trash and the sender blocked.
Your email service may also come with a spam blocker. If it does not, it may be worth your while to invest in one for your child’s computer. Where-as your email filter filters incoming email into folders, the spam blocker blocks spam from going through the system. It checks your mail server every 10 minutes, where it deletes the spam and destroys any viruses it finds. Legitimate email is let on the server and downloads to the inbox when you log in.
Set up an email account for your child that “whitelists” only specific email addresses. A whitelist is just a list of trusted and approved email addresses. For example, you can have the addresses of your child’s grandparents, aunts and uncles whitelisted. Whenever email is received from any of the whitelisted addresses, it goes directly to your child’s inbox. All other email addresses are blocked.
Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
Be sure to log into your child’s email account on a regular basis to monitor the incoming and outgoing messages, and to ensure that the spam filter and spam block are working appropriately.
Using your email spam filter, you can set up a rule that will ensure that a copy of every email that is sent and received on your child’s account is forwarded to your own email address
It is very important to educate your children on the dangers of spam and how to handle it if they do receive any in their inbox.