How to protect your children from cyber threats
The summer just gracefully glanced over our lives, and now it is time for things to get back to normal – we will soon start feeling the cold breeze and the days will become shorter. Even though that the good old days of casual dress code in the office are now gone, being back to reality has some positives too. Lots of quality TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Gotham will be back on the small screen, and your house will become less noisy as the little, and sometimes not so little, bundles of joy will be going back to school. As parents, it is our duty to keep our children safe. One of the ways to protect them from cyber threats is to educate them about the dangers and give them some advice on how to be alert and avoid becoming a victim.
Similar to the well-known parents advise such as to never get into a stranger’s car and to always cross on green, we need to remind our children that irresponsible behavior on their PC or wireless devices, is equally as bad as crossing a street on a red light. Every kid with access to a tablet, cell phone or a computer needs to be aware of how to use them safely. Even though they may not fully understand the fact that using these devices makes them vulnerable, you need to talk to your children about some of the dangers and discuss possible ways to prevent them from happening. The time before they get back to school is perfect for such a conversation.
Here are a few tips worth mentioning;
Keeping passwords safe
Tell your kids always to be cautious when they are using passwords in school/college. Make them aware that people could steal their password by shoulder peeking. Give them an example, tell them to imagine how they would feel if someone starts posting nonsense from their profile on social media only because he/she knows their password. Advise them to make sure no one is watching them when entering a password. Tell them not to share their passwords with anyone!
Locking and logging off
Things can go wrong if students do not log off from a computer at school after using it. If they do not log off, the next person who will be using the same PC may end up intentionally or unintentionally tampering with their work. Tell your kids that it would be a real waste if they’ve worked so hard on a project or a painting, and suddenly everything gets messed up simply because they forgot to lock or log off from their computer.
As you know, databases are sometimes not well protected and get compromised. The best way to deal with the ongoing problem is to change passwords often. Remind your kids that changing their passwords at least once every three months is important for them. Make it like a fun game and get them to want to change their passwords even if they don’t do it because of the dangers, but because it is fun. Tell them they can use a funny password such as ‘BieberLikesBananaz12%’.
Report cyber bullying
A quick reminder about the existence of cyber bullying is a must before sending the little ones back to school. Remind them how to notice it and report it. Cyber bullying could be destructive for children of all ages. Tell them not to engage with anyone who they do not know in real life and to tell you if anything abnormal happens with the ones they know. You can use various tools to exercise parental control too. And if you spot something disturbing, do not press the WW3 button but pull quietly them away from the harmful content or friendship. You want your children to trust you!
Be aware of belongings
Stress on the fact that devices can be tampered with and children should not leave them around. Youngsters need always to keep their devices securely locked. Tell them that if they don’t take care of their belongings, you will not buy them new ones. Get them to imagine how long and exhausting will be the months without a phone or a tablet should they end up not taking good care of it.
When you are a parent, some of the things that you do to remain protected are as obvious and as natural as breathing. However, kids from all ages might not have experienced the bad side of technology yet, and things may not feel as natural to them. While you can proudly say kids are tech savvy, they are not necessarily experienced enough to be safe and to be left on their own.
Before you send them back to school, make sure the OS of their devices are fully up-to-date and have stable anti-virus software. It not only protects their devices but quality antivirus software comes with parental control options that give you more freedom to monitor their online behavior safely and from distance.