Nowadays, parents are gravely concerned about how to take care of their children online in current digital-age. As the difference between digital reality and physical reality is fading out, you cannot think that your children are safe within the confines of their house. According to a December 2017 CNN article, over 45% of the U.S. children, ages 10 to 12, own a smartphone. Judging by the stats, you can say that the number has now grown over the past year as there are companies who specifically design tablets for children and their demand is increasing in the market. With such an exposure, you need to make sure that your kids understand certain security risks that revolve around them while they carelessly use the internet.
To bring their children under the light of cybersecurity, people should write down a strategy to reach out to their little ones without sounding too complex or disorientated because explaining technical stuff can make it difficult for them to understand. So keep it more demonstrative and less verbal. Be creative with the analogies and use which minors can understand. Another important thing is to be honest. Be honest about your intentions; tell them that you care about their personal information being exploited in the hands of cybercriminals. You may share this horrifying cyberbullying incident to be at a safe side. Talk about things you may not be comfortable with because it is important to teach your kids that some online activities are not safe for them.
As parents would tell their kids to not talk to the strangers in real world, they should have the same attitude towards their children’s behavior in digital world. While talking to your own kids can be difficult at times, they may have a habit of assuming things out of you which may totally negate your intention such as they might consider your interest in their cybersecurity as you trying to spy on them. Therefore, it is important that you reassure them that your intention is to keep them safe from cyberattacks and that if they get a virus or click anything inappropriate, with no intention of doing so, then you will not hold them responsible, rather assure them that if anything suspicious or problematic happens, they should come to you before doing anything that may cause any more damage.
Take time out to go online with your child and surf the internet while showing them what sort of content they should avoid and how to safely move around the web. Sharing information is also another issue with minors. They will share information that you may think should not be shared and kept private. Thus, people should talk about good and bad sharing practices with their children. Another problem for the parents to deal with is anonymous sharing.
There are applications such as Whisper which lets users share information anonymously. Parents find it unsafe for kids to share information anonymously as they may use it to overshare information or find themselves as a victim of cyberbullying or could become a cyberbully. It is important to keep your children aware about sharing appropriate information and respect other’s privacy as much as your child would want for themselves. Here is a complete parent’s guide on what to to if your child is being Cyberbullied.
Teach them to take care of their social media accounts, not leave them logged in on random browsers, share limited personal information, turn on two-factor authentication and come up with strong, complex passwords. Parents can also set up parental controls on their children’s device which can block access to inappropriate content. Since, most malwares come through inappropriate content, parental controls help in keeping the cybersecurity intact. But, unfortunately, malwares can find their way through different links that are generally sent into direct messages and emails.
Tell your child to be careful while checking their emails and DMs as many random people would send them random messages as a bait to convince them to click the links attached. Tell them to only click links from sources that are authentic. Similarly, there are video streaming websites, such as YouTube, where the content may be authentic but the comment section under certain videos offer something intriguing to the users if they click the links attached. That is how attackers shoot their malware and makes understanding of the cybersecurity crucial. Online video gaming websites also have such risk which is why tell your child to be mindful of what sort of games they play and forbid themselves from clicking any links from the comment section on any YouTube video. Parents should also learn how much digital privacy for kids is good enough.
With the cases of identity theft increasing, as a parent, you should know that your children are as vulnerable to such attacks as you are. The online data that your child might provide without your knowledge may put them at risk of being a victim of identity theft which can seriously damage their credit. Such an attack will make them unable to get student loans, thus, leaving their future in disarray.
With numerous cybersecurity risks hovering over, tell your children about cybersecurity programs that offer to protect your data and keep your device clean from malware. These programs provide safety net from cyberattacks which at times users cannot figure out has infected their system. Another important thing to be discussed with your child is that they should always be careful about keeping their device updated to the latest OS.
Getting all this important cybersecurity related stuff across your child’s head, will relieve you of the concern that your child maybe under potential risk of cybersecurity attack. And while you monitor their online activities, it is important to keep them in the loop and assure them that you will respect their privacy.