Kids love to use computers but sometimes aren’t aware of the associated risks. In this article, we discuss cybersecurity tips you can make the most of to keep both your kids and their computers safe from harm.
Around 12% of kids above the age of eight spend over four hours on the web every day. If you’re a parent, it’s a number that ought to grab your attention!
Every day adults make mistakes, e.g., clicking through to an email offer for free spins without realizing it’s a phishing attack or downloading malware by accident.
As you see, such cybersecurity threats aren’t only reserved for adults! Children can fall victim to them, too. Threats can come from anywhere.
Even something as simple as watching kids’ YouTube could be a stepping stone toward online coercion and malicious attacks. Let’s look at what you, as a parent, can do.
Current risks faced online.
Cyberbullying is a big issue in kids’ lives. This is when someone online harasses, makes threats, or posts nasty comments about an individual online.
People can make threats around the clock, as it’s simple to get away with, e.g., via a mobile device. Creating fake accounts name for harassing an individual, prank calls, email bombing, and sharing data without consent – are just some of the ways a child can be bullied.
If you’re worried that your kid’s online activity can result in them being bullied, pay close attention to their behavior and mood.
Have they experienced changes in interests, a lack of enthusiasm, or a reluctance to participate in friendship groups? These could all be potential tell-tale signs of cyberbullying.
Even though the net is a fantastic resource for kids to learn and discover, it is also a sea of inappropriate content. You, as a parent, need to prevent your children from consuming the bad stuff, keeping kids’ online time safe.
So, how can you do it in a way that’s not too naggy or invasive? One of the best methods is to discuss such problems with your child and encourage honest conversation.
You can also install all sorts of apps and extensions to block likely inappropriate content. Turn SafeSearch on your kid’s browser in the settings menu if you’re using Google.
It’s great to discuss online scams with your kids. It can even be quite fun, too, especially reading some hilarious fake email scams!
Do a little research online to find out about the most common scams of the year because they’re ever-changing – scammers are always adapting their methods to fit the current times.
Let your children learn how to detect and avoid scammers, spotting potential fakes before they can be tempted into them.
If your child sees suspicious links coming from “friends” or others, they should know not to click through.
As tempting as it might be, they ought to know that if you click somewhere for a free PlayStation, it most likely won’t arrive! Such offers can contain harmful code that can corrupt your computer and data.
Teaching your child to use their common sense in these situations will be a valuable life lesson. This will safeguard your children against viruses, malware, worms, and trojan horses.
What can one do as a parent?
Several free online resources can help raise awareness and keep track of the latest trends in cybercrime. Some great ones out there are “Identity Theft is a Crime,” which keeps track of the latest exploits, as well as haveibeenpwned.com, which shows you if your data has been compromised.
Build good relations with your child and encourage active conversation around the topic. Facilitate a bond of trust so that they can let you in on what they’ve seen and will be honest about what their peers are doing.
The last thing you want is for your child to hopelessly give into blackmailing online while keeping quiet about it and suffering the grave consequences.
Often thugs coerce children into doing favors for them and performing any number of tasks, threatening to leak information if the victim doesn’t do what they say.
Teach your children to take personal responsibility for their safety online. Regardless of a kid’s age, they should know about potential vulnerabilities.
Although filters and restrictive software have their place, they should be the last resort – education comes first. As with any education, be engaged in what your children are doing online and support all of the good choices they make.
Stay constructive when they encounter inappropriate material online, seeing it as an opportunity for teaching. Safety for kids is important, and you can help children identify credible, safe, and interesting content online.
Kids and cybersecurity education need to go hand in hand. Education will be an ongoing exercise, especially because the Internet is constantly changing, along with its security pitfalls.
Keep up to date on the latest practices that can increase both your safety and your child’s safety online.
As your children learn and play with older kids, you may find that they become the experts themselves and may even end up teaching you a thing or two!
Keeping your machine clean
The world of technology is fast-paced, so remember to keep all of your security software up-to-date with the latest versions running.
Alongside this, frequently update your operating system, applications, software, Web browsers, and any antivirus protection.
This goes for any devices connected to the Internet, including mobile phones, not just computers.
Regular updates can help protect your children against any online threats and malware. You need to regularly keep on top of them because hackers are always nitpicking for vulnerabilities in software to exploit.
On top of your computer and devices, make sure that you know the protection features of your Internet service provider. Protection tools are great for managing the online experience.
Protecting personal information
Children may engage in all sorts of activities online while not necessarily knowing that they could be passing on information to hackers, making them vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Education is key here – teach your kid about the different ways to limit information sharing. Even people who appear genuine online may be hackers themselves. You can’t trust everyone online these days! Make sure your kids set all of their security and privacy settings on the websites they’re using, as well as the apps they’ve installed.
As a rule of thumb, encourage your kids to be cautious when downloading, clicking on links, or posting material. If your children understand that the Internet has many benefits, they should also understand the potential risks.
Be a guide for kids – show them that digital information such as photos, emails, videos, and more can easily be copied and pasted everywhere.
They ought to know that if they act inappropriately, this could damage their friendships, reputation, and prospects.
Kids need to be encouraged to report any suspicious behavior they see online. As an example, if they’re on social media and spot a malicious account, they should report this to the social media’s admin.
It’s one step towards being a good online citizen because what your children do online will have the potential to affect anybody. Practicing several good online habits will benefit the entire digital community.
School kids should be taught that if something looks suspicious, even if you think you know where it’s coming from, it’s best to mark it as inappropriate or alert an authority.
Remind your kids that what goes on on the Internet stays on the Internet. What they do has the power to influence, but also the mistakes they make have the power to stay online for many years to come, visible to a potentially large audience.
The bad news is that cybersecurity threats are real, but the good news is that children are becoming ever more technologically sophisticated. Your kids and the Internet can happily coexist with your help.
Kids and parents need to work together to stay on top of the game. We hope to have demonstrated some of the common problems children can face today, along with solutions that keep them safe and keep their computers free from harm.
Remember to educate, reward good behavior and stay on top of the latest trends. All the best!
What are some of the best sites for your kids? Share some of your favorites in the comments section below.
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash