What are Downloads?
A download is a file obtained from another machine or server on the Internet. Downloads include software applications, music, pictures, movies, and more.
Concerns for Parents
When you download, you are permitting something to come onto your computer, so there is the risk of malicious software coming along with whatever you wanted to download. The damage done by a virus or other malicious software can range from simply making your computer run slower to completely erasing all of your files.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Be aware of what you're going to download. Consider:
- Are there any reviews about what I would like to download? Search around other sites to see what people say about it before you download something.
- Did I find out about this download from a reputable source? If you found out about it from a pop-up or spam email it might not be trustworthy.
- Do I trust the company or individual that made what I would like to download? If you have doubts about the producer of something it is better to find another way of getting what you want.
- Do I trust the website that I am downloading from? In addition to considering the producer of what you want to download, consider who it is that is offering it to you.
- Have I taught my kids about downloading? Take time to talk to your kids about the risk of downloading things off of the Internet and teach them how to do it safely. Have them ask you before they download something, and keep the computer in a highly trafficked place so you can see what they are downloading.
- What is what I would like to download going to do? Do I really want that? Make sure that you are completely sure about exactly what you are getting and that you are not getting more or less than what you want.
- Having antivirus software is crucial for picking out and removing harmful programs from your computer. Make sure to run a scan after you finish downloading something, so that any malicious software can be found and removed before it does too much damage. Functionality varies depending on your antivirus software, but try to do at least one of the following if your software is able to:
- Run a "Quick Scan" which only checks the more infection prone areas on your computer but runs very quickly and efficiently.
- Run a scan specifically on the file you downloaded and the folder that you put it in.
- Run a scan on the file before you download it.
- Download the file in a Sandbox first and see how it reacts. Things run in a Sandbox can be thrown away before they are saved to your hard drive and cause permanent damage.
- Use a filter to automatically block unwanted content from being downloaded onto your computer.
- The Bottom Line: Always be skeptical about what you and others download onto your computer.