Being a kid is not what it once was.
Today, over 60 percent of children in the U.S. have access to the Internet through their own personal computing device.
It isn’t wrong to let your kids to use the Internet. But, with cyber attacks affecting one in three Americans every 39 seconds, the need to teach your children about online safety is greater than ever.
1. Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Over 1 million children were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017.
When subscribing or downloading something from the Internet, users are typically required to fill out a form with personal information. If your child enters his or her personal data on a suspect site, he or she could become a victim of identity theft.
To prevent your kid from recklessly sharing personal information on the Internet, teach them the following safeguards:
- Always use a nickname when possible. The less your child shares, the safer they will be.
- Never post any personal email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, or birth dates before getting your approval.
- Show them how to spot unsecure sites. Tell them to look for web addresses that start with https instead of http. Websites that have https in front of the address are much safer.
2. Beware of Email Scams
If an email sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Phishing scams are emails that appear to be legitimate messages, but contain links that redirect you to virus-filled websites. Always tell your children to:
- Never provide personal information involving passwords or bank data.
- Question emails from unknown senders before opening. Always tell them to come to you before opening suspicious messages.
- Report suspicious emails as spam to prevent more dangerous emails from the same sender.
3. Practice Proper Password Security
Consider these tips:
- Never share passwords with anyone other than a parent or guardian.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Always use a mix of letters and numbers no shorter than 12 characters long. A hacker with a code-breaking tool only needs 15 minutes to figure out an eight-character password.
- Consider implementing two-factor identification that reconfirms your child’s identity every log in.
4. Protect Privacy on Social Media
Not only can identity thieves and stalkers obtain personal information from social profiles, they can also use these networks to harass and threaten users.
Consider the following tips to keep your children safe when using social networks:
- Keep accounts private.
- Monitor their activity.
- Block users you don’t trust.
- Never let them post information about their location, full birthdate, home address, phone number, vacation plans or pictures with geotags.
- Never let them message or correspond with people they do not personally know.
5. Implement Home Cyber Security Practices
For extra cyber security protection to keep you and your kids safe, consider implementing the following practices:
- Antivirus software and firewalls to keep malicious programs from hacking into your network.
- Virtual protected networks (VPN) that prevent thieves from stealing information via public Wi-Fi.
- Use wired connections versus wireless. Wired connections are harder to infiltrate than wireless.
- Update software and passwords for all connected devices. This includes everything that uses an Internet connection.
Be proactive, not reactive when it comes to cyber security. Always connect with a trusted security expert for proper installation and setup.
What cyber safety practices do you teach your children? Share in the comments below.