Most kids today are plugged into devices like TVs,
tablets, and smartphones well before they can even ride a bike. As our
kids head back to school, social media usage will be on the rise. And
as a result, kids can be exposed to unique risks in cyberspace. In
planning for the year ahead, we wanted to share some tips to raise
awareness and jump-start the conversation to promote kids’ internet
- Recognize Phishing Attacks: Children are
especially vulnerable in Phishing Attacks, Attackers try to lure you to
click on links or give out your personal information. Just like
reminding our kids not to talk to strangers, the same message should
apply when responding to an unknown individual while online. Whether it
is talking to someone you do not know while playing a game online or
responding to an email, clicking on links that you do not recognize or
responding to email, messages from strangers in any capacity should
always be “No”.
- Backup Data: It is a best practice to establish a
regular process to backup files, even for your children. In this day an
age, there are malicious viruses, like Ransomware, that are known to
encrypt your important files and ask you for a ransom. Backup can be
done to an external device, or to programs like Google Drive, iCloud,
drop box, etc.
- Protect Passwords: In this day and age, the
recommendation is to make your passwords lengthy and complicated.
Children should be reminded to never reveal them to anyone, and to use
different passwords for different accounts.
- Enable Security Controls: It is a good idea to
talk to children about enabling anti-virus and firewall within their
respective machines and stress the importance of enabling these programs
and potential impact if they are disabled.
- Secure Access Points: Public WIFI and free WIFI
are not always the most secure access points. The WIFI spots can be used
by a hacker to extract confidential information about you while you
browse the internet. Remind children not to use public or free WIFI to
access confidential information or access key school documents that they
may be working on.
- Consider Parental Controls: It is important for
children to understand the dangers of responding to any messages (text,
email, etc.) in high emotion and sharing pictures with friends. Parents
of students in middle school or under should strongly consider
installing parental control tools to prevent minors for accessing
unwanted sites and tracking cyber habits.
- Keep Software Up-To-Date: It is important to
remind children to keep their software up to date for their computers
and mobile devices. Software updates include security fixes for
Hopefully these tips are a good starting point to discussing safe web
browsing habits, raising awareness about the dangers of the internet
and sharing ways to protect themselves against them.