Data shows that more than 60% of kids in the United States access the internet through their computing devices, a significant increase from 11% in 1997. Children are more vulnerable to cybercrime because they may not quickly identify the threats, and the perpetrators can effortlessly identify their vulnerabilities. Teaching your kids the proper ways to remain safe when using the internet is of utmost importance. Instead of shielding your children, preparing them for possible Internet-related crimes may be a better approach in protecting them.
Encourage Them To Use Unique Passwords
Cybercriminals continue to develop sophisticated ways to access your personal information, and master passwords make their work extremely easy. A data breach on one account compromises other accounts with the same password. Protect them by ensuring they use unique, strong passwords in all their accounts and help them if they are having difficulties creating them. They should be complex and have at least 12 characters, including numbers and letters and avoid using personal information like birthdays or names.
Every piece of information your kids share online can be leaked, misused, or sold. Security breach incidences are constantly on the rise, so it is best to be careful. Help your children understand the benefits of being cautious about what and how much information they share on different platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or gaming sites.
Children use social media platforms to connect with their friends and peers, and while it is entertaining, it can also be a source of grave concern for parents. Stalkers and identity thieves can obtain your kid’s personal information from their social media profiles and also use the platforms to threaten and harass them.
You can protect your kids from social media threats by encouraging them to block untrustworthy users, keeping their accounts private. Discourage them from communicating with strangers and sharing their birth-dates, location, phone number, geotagged pictures, home address, and vacation plans.
Protecting Their Devices
Besides not leaving their computing devices unattended, it is fundamental to help your kids understand why they should update their devices regularly. Doing so safeguards them from various cyber threats. Consider getting a system that automatically updates the devices.
All digital sites require an email to set up their accounts. Since most kids today know their way around the internet, they do not often require their parent’s guidance to create their email accounts. However, they may not know that the small act of opening an email account can result in a potential cyber threat. They include phishing emails that often look harmless but are designed to access and steal people’s sensitive information upon clicking on malicious attachments or links.
Help your kids learn how to detect phishing emails. These include grammatical errors, vendor emails asking for credit card information, or links or URLs that take you to the wrong website. Your child should always delete these emails immediately.
Use Secure WiFi Networks
Your child can easily connect to public WiFi networks at places like the library, public transport, and malls, offering accessible, free internet. Unfortunately, since they are unsecured, they are primary targets for cybercriminals. Encourage your kids only to use secure networks, but if they must connect to an unsecured network, they should use a VPN.
VPNs encrypt the user’s data and create secure internet connections, ensuring third-parties cannot access your information. Parents should secure their family’s devices using VPN and teach their children how and when to use them.
The number of kids using the internet will only rise, so cybersecurity is now among the essential talks that guardians and parents must have with their kids. It is your responsibility to offer proactive education on internet safety to them.