In today’s Internet-dependent world, parents need to be vigilant about the security of their child’s Internet usage. We are now back to school, and with the excitement of a new school year, comes the challenge of teaching your child to be careful on the internet while he or she is out of your supervision. The following are some simple guidelines you may want to share with your children to give you a peace of mind, knowing your kids are safe when they are perusing the Internet away from home.
1. Communicating with kids about Internet security
Children need guidance when it comes to Internet security and the potential threats. Both young children and teenagers can be subject to nefarious cyber issues such as drive-by downloads, links to harmful sites, viruses, and malware. They are also vulnerable to issues such as tempting downloads, offers for free giveaways or anything else that might lead them to harmful sites. Parents need to make sure their kids know the dangers that the Internet can hold. Let your kids know that there are potential dangers and bad people who have hurtful intentions lurking around cyberspace. Impress upon them that some people will intentionally try to misrepresent themselves for the sole purpose of hurting others. Remind them that they always need to think carefully before they make any connections with someone else through the Internet. Most importantly, make sure this conversation happens more than once. Remind them repeatedly about the dangers that can exist on the Internet if they are not careful.
2. Mobile device security
Kids seem to be permanently connected to their smartphones these days. It is more important than ever for parents to warn their kids about the security issues that surround the use of mobile devices. There are apps for mobile devices that are specifically designed to make mobile devices more secure. These apps might not be enough on their own; connectsafely.org suggests that the best way to protect a mobile device is to create a personal identification number (PIN) for the device. Furthermore, make sure your children know the dangers of sharing pictures and information over mobile devices as the potential for further sharing is there, and the recipient could take screenshots and forward messages beyond the intended audience.
3. Sharing personal information
It is no secret that no one should ever share passwords with anyone. Back to school time presents a great opportunity to remind kids of this important rule. Kids and teenagers can be tempted to share this information with their friends, but the temptation needs to be resisted. Friendships can turn sour quickly at this age, and your kids need to protect themselves from friends who turn into enemies with intent to cause harm. They should also avoid writing their passwords in their assignment notebooks or anyplace where it can be easily found and accessed. Be sure to be present and active when your kids are checking their accounts, so you are aware of what they are doing on the computer. Beyond passwords, make sure your kids know not to provide any other personal information such as their address or that they are home alone when they are online.
4. Catfish scams
Preteens, teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to catfish scams. This type of scam occurs when someone pretends to be someone else on the Internet by providing false information. The best way to help keep kids safe from catfishers is to be honest and upfront with them. Although kids might think that parents are being over-protective and worrisome. It is important to be diligent in reminding kids to be cautious on the Internet. Parents need to be active participants in their kids’ Internet activity and know who their friends on social media sites are. Socialcatfish.com suggests these 13 ways to avoid being catfished.
Social media continues to be one of the most common ways today’s youth communicates with each other. Social media sites have many benefits for kids; however it is not without its liabilities as well. It is important for kids to proceed with caution when they are using social media. Parents should remind their kids about the following guidelines from Safe Search Kids to assure they remain safe while using social media:
- Check privacy settings to make sure only people your kids know can see their posts
- Be cautious of friend requests and never accept a friend request from someone you do not know
- Limit personal information in social media posts. Nothing can ever be permanently erased from the Internet, so it is important to think and rethink before anything personal is posted.
- Disable location services on Facebook.
- Avoid posting vacation plans or pictures.
- Never agree to meet a new contact offline.
6. Be aware of identity theft
Adults are not the only ones who are vulnerable to identity theft; kids can easily be victims, too. Parents need to take decisive action to help protect their kids from the dangers of identity theft. PBS.org suggests these four guidelines to help prevent youth identity theft:
- Do not share what you do not have to. Only give out your kids’ Social Security number when it is absolutely necessary (always ask at medical facilities before providing it to be sure it is required).
- Be aware of and understand common phishing techniques. Knowing what these techniques are and how they work is a great way to avoid falling for them.
- Manage your kids’ social media privacy settings.
- Teach your kids how to make and use secure passwords and two-factor authentication.
Teaching your children Internet security practices will not only give you a peace of mind knowing your child is protected but also ensure your children are aware of security best practices for years to come as they continue to interact online.
For information on security awareness training solutions contact us at Global Learning Systems. We have many options that can help you educate your staff, students, children or others, on security best practices.