Online Resources to Keep the Kids Entertained

Getting outside and running around is the best way for children to burn off energy and keep fit and healthy. But there are times when it may not be possible to go outside. Current social distancing rules mean that parks are off limits and if you don’t have a large outdoor area, or the weather isn’t great, you may need some other ideas on keeping the kids entertained – and yourself sane!

The internet has vast amounts of information and activities your children can undertake while stuck inside on a rainy day or social distancing. Below are just several ideas to keep your children entertained in a somewhat educational manner.

eBooks – Reading, whether they are being read to or reading themselves, is very important for a child’s education. Apple Books is available for Apple devices and Amazons Kindle can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices. These apps allow you to download books directly to your tablet. Grenfell Public Library also offer a service called BorrowBox from which you can borrow ebooks as you would from the Library. The Library is also offering a ‘click and collect‘ borrowing system for physical books.

Best & Less Retro Colouring in fun – Colouring in is a popular activity among children and is a great way to get some simple ‘arts and crafts’ activities with minimal clean up. Crayola also offer some free colouring pages.

How To Make the Perfect Paper Airplane – Get creative and unleash your child’s inner Aerospace engineer. If Mum or Dad are handy on the tools there are also some plans for building a paper airplane launcher! This activity could be fun indoors or outdoors.

Create Stories, Games, and Animations with Scratch – Screen time often gets bad wrap, but technology is a great tool when it is used to create rather than consume. Scratch is an easy way to introduce your child to the world of programming. Some info for Mum and Dad can be found here.

Zoo Cams – There are plenty of Zoo’s live streaming their animals. You can see live streams from zoos close (ish) to home, such as Taronga Zoo. Or even travel abroad to San Diego Zoo. More Australian live streams can be viewed at at Typing ‘zoo live stream’ into Google brings up plenty of results.

Kid-Friendly Cooking – Cooking is a great way to teach children the importance of healthy eating. Having your child help out in the kitchen may even entice them to try those new foods – It was something they cooked after all! And with the measuring, adding up, and weighing of ingredients it counts as a delicious maths lesson. Doesn’t it?

YouTube – We all should get a chance to unwind at the end of the day. YouTube can be a great place to learn new skills with plenty of educational channels on the platform. YouTube kids is a safer version of YouTube that Mum or Dad will need to configure an account for first. If the family are going to unwind together some great channels are NasaTV, AustralianZooTube, and MinutePhysics.

These resources are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast amount of information on the internet. The internet has plenty of material that children should not see, but could easily stumble across. The best way to prevent this is to ensure devices are used in common areas such as the living room and don’t leave children unsupervised when browsing the web.

Children may have a harder time adjusting to and understanding social distancing rules currently in place. This can have its toll on the whole family. Beyond Blue have resources on talking about Coronavirus with children. They also have a dedicated portal on Coronavirus for anyone who isn’t feeling 100%.

Take care, and stay safe!

Adding a Password to your Zoom Meeting

Zoom has quickly become the virtual meeting platform of choice for those who need to attend meetings but are currently self-isolating or working from home.

The default settings for Zoom leaves meetings open for anyone to join. This make it a lot simpler for people to join – but it also leaves the chance someone could stumble across your Zoom meeting accidentally. There have been reports of people abusing this for pranks, as well as more sinister activities.

To keep your meetings safe from pranksters, eavesdroppers, or other malicious actors you can set a password. As long as you choose a secure password, you should be able to avoid anyone Zoombombing your meeting.

Setting a Password

First all open up Zoom.

Zoom Main Screen

At the bottom of the main window click on the Meetings button. This will open up the Meetings page and will list all the meetings you have scheduled. It is possible to set a unique password for each individual meeting.

Zoom Meetings Screen

After you have selected a meeting, click on the Edit button to view the settings for that particular meeting.

Personal Meeting ID Settings

In the Password section tick the box labeled Require a meeting password. A password field will then be showed. Type a password in the password field, and click Save.

You will now need to share the meeting link and the password to anyone whom needs to attend the meeting. For extra security try to send the link and password via separate communications. i.e. emailing the meeting link and sending the password via a secure messenger.

Your meetings should now be more protected from prying eyes; whether accidental, curious, or malicious. Now you just need to concentrate of the other mishaps that may occur when working from home. While you’re here feel free to browse our other Tech Tips articles!

Secure your Apple iPhone or iPad

Your mobile goes with you everywhere. You use it multiple times a day to send email, do your banking, send memes to loved ones via your favourite social media platform, and on occasion you might actually use it to call someone.

Mobile devices have replaced the desktop computer as the main device for much of the population. This is because they are so convenient. You can check the weather before you get out of bed, you can order a pizza without getting off the lounge, and you can laugh at funny videos on YouTube without leaving the comfort of your toilet.

Jokes aside, these devices are popular items sought by criminals who want to steal them or steal data from them.

One thing I have noticed over the years is many people choose to have no passcode. Often their excuse is “they have nothing to hide” or “don’t have anything a hacker would want”.

The downside to this is that if you were to lose your device or have it stolen the criminal have full access to your device. This would allow them to reset online accounts, including your online banking, or paypal. Which brings us to the first step in how to secure your Apple device: Setting a passcode.

Setting a Passcode

Setting a passcode on your device will help to prevent someone gaining access to your device if it was misplaced or stolen. The default option for Apple is a six digit passcode. This should be random, and not something that follows a pattern. i.e. 123456 or 000000. Try to avoid things like digits from your phone number, or important dates such as birthdays or anniversaries.

To set a passcode go to: Settings > Face ID & Passcode (Touch ID & Passcode for older devices) and then Tap Turn Passcode On.

You will then be prompted to enter and confirm your new passcode. This will need to be typed in each time you unlock your device, but it becomes second nature very quickly.

To make things a little easier your can opt to use Touch ID or Face ID on compatible models. This allows your to unlock your device with a finger print or simply by looking at your phone.

If you forget your passcode you will not be able to gain access to your device without performing a factory reset. Ensure you store your passcode somewhere securely away from your device or in a password manager.

Automatic Updates

Apple Devices are reasonably secure out of the box due to Apple taking a “walled garden” approach to security. Apple have strict requirements for app developers to meet before their app can make it onto the AppStore. This means there are fewer malware samples in the wild, compared to Android devices, that can infect Apple devices. This doesn’t make the device 100% secure. Apple devices can still be attacked by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or in apps. To keep your device safe it is recommended to install software and app updates at your earliest convenience.

Updates can be installed automatically, which is highly recommended. This way the updates install without you needing to worry.

To enable automatic updates for Apps go to: Settings > ‘Your Name’ > iTunes & App Store. Tap the toggle switch for App Updates. If the toggle switch is green this indicates your Apps are updating automatically.

To enable automatics updates for iOS go to: Settings > General > Software Updates > Automatic Updates. Tap the toggle switch for Automatic Updates. If the toggle switch is green this indicates iOS is updating automatically.

Enable 2FA for your Apple ID

Two-factor Authentication or 2FA helps to secure your account by requiring a second factor (i.e. a code sent to your mobile) along with your password when signing into a service. I highly recommend enabling this for any account that supports it.

To enable it go to: Settings > ‘Your Name’ > Passwords & Security

Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication and then tap continue.

You will be asked to enter your mobile number. Apple will send you a one time code which your Apple device should automatically read. If not, you will need to copy and paste the one time code from the text message. 2FA will now be enabled for your Apple ID.

This means if anyone was to guess your password they would not be able to access your Apple ID without also having access to your mobile device.

Turn of Notification Previews

Notifications previews are a handy feature but they can pose as a privacy risk as well as a security risk.

When you receive a message via most messaging apps, a notification will display on the screen with a preview of the message, and whom it was from. This can pose as a security risk if you were to lose your phone. A criminal could read a text message containing a one time code without needing to unlock your phone. This may allow the criminal to reset you banking or other online services password.

You privacy can also be at risk. Someone who has access to your phone but doesn’t know your passcode can still read part of the message from the lock screen. This means anytime a message comes through on your phone, anyone that can see the phone screen at that time can read the message.

Turn off or limiting the notification is simple:

Go to: Settings > Notifications.

Under Show Previews choose one of the following options:

  • Always – Always show previews on the lock screen
  • When Unlocked – Only show previews after you have entered your pin, or unlocked with Touch ID or Face ID.
  • Never – Never show a preview of the message.

At a minimum I would recommend selecting When Unlocked.

Find My

Find My is an App that can be downloaded on your Apple Devices and can assist you in finding your misplaced device. The app comes installed on most new devices but if you cannot see it, or you’ve deleted it, you can download it from the App Store. One you open the app you will be required to sign into your Apple ID. You will also need to enable location services.

Once enabled, you can log on to iCloud on your computer or use the Find My app on another device to view where you device is on a map and to use the following features:

Play Sound – If you’ve misplaced your device at home you can make your device play a sound, even if it is muted.

Mark As Lost – If you have lost your device away from your home you can put it in lost mode. This will display a custom message on your devices screen, as well as a phone number to call. It also allows you to receive updates of your phones movements via email.

Erase Device – If all hope is lost of getting back your device you can ensure no-one gets access to your data by erasing the phone. The phone becomes useless to anyone who doesn’t have access to your Apple ID as this is required to get the phone up and going again.

People have a lot more sensitive data on their devices than they think at first. Having the “I’ve got nothing to hide” mentality is all good and reasonable until you actually lose a device. Following these steps should help you to keep your phone and data in safe hands. For more tips visit our Tech Tips page!

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