Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cybersecurity Smarts: How to Keep Kids Safe

Kids are becoming more and more savvy about technology every year. We’re getting to the point where toddlers know how to use iPads better than we do. So, as parents, what do we need to know to keep our kids safe?

The Threats:

There are a variety of things that can be a problem for kids when they start using the Internet. These things can put your computer, identity, and private information at risk. Some of the cyber scaries include:
  • Viruses and Malware
  • “Hacking”
  • Scams, misinformation, and fraud
  • Privacy violations (exposure or theft of your personal information, or personal information about your children)
  • Gambling
  • Explicit content
  • Predators
  • License violations (illegal downloading of music, movies, etc.)

Tips & Tricks:

The most important aspect of keeping your kids safe online is information. Be informed on what your kids are doing on the Internet -- what websites they are going to, what they are downloading, and who they are talking to -- and inform them of how to be “digital citizens,” or those who use the Internet regularly and effectively.

1. Get to Know Your Technology
  • Make sure to have a good security system in place on your computer (anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protection).
  • Know the parental controls of your browser and computer (here are links to Windows and Apple to do this). Each computer come with options to set up parental controls that you can find in your computer’s settings.
  • Create separate user accounts for kids on your computer. As an administrator, you can change the privileges for each user.
2. Communicate With Your Kids
  • Talk to them about the potential dangers of being “wired” -- like viruses, phishing emails, and personal privacy.
  • Ask them to think before they post. What goes on the Internet remains there permanently for people to find. Your kids should be aware that before they post about themselves or a friend that it could impact them long-term.
  • Remind them to keep all online profiles private.
  • Make them aware of mobile security -- online traffic is moving toward more mobile than desktop. This means your child’s location can potentially be shared when they post something from their phones. You may want to turn the location settings off, at least for some apps.
  • Talk to them about cyberbullying. Being anonymous online sometimes encourages bad behavior. Cyberbullying is a serious issue, and if they see it or experience it they should report it to authorities (parents, school administrators, or -- in some cases -- the police).
The Internet is a great resource that helps our kids in tremendous ways. It advances learning, creativity, transparency, and allows people to maintain relationships. But, in the wise words of Spider-Man, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” and we need to ensure that our kids use this resource safely.

For more safety resources, visit Connect Safely, Get Net Wise and NetSmartz Kids.

Debbi Blyth: Chief Information Security Officer. Colorado native (almost!), beach lover, deep sea diver, Sunday school teacher. I'm the queen of keeping Colorado safe online. Find me on Twitter at @debbiblyth.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a great software to monitor your kid cyber life.


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