There are two things parents can depend on as the world of technology continues to evolve. Your kids will spend more time online and the threats in the online space will get worse.
The sad fact is that there are many predators and cyber criminals out there who may try to target your kids, and if you don’t teach your children about online safety, then you put your family in jeopardy. The good news is that there are many ways parents can teach their youngsters about responsibly searching and spending time on the web. Consider the advice below and put your family in a better and safer position.
Teach Them The Dangers That The Online World Can Present
While there is plenty to learn and a lot of fun to be had online, like all things, it is important to use the internet in moderation and with caution. As parents, the first thing you need to do is teach your kids about the overall dangers that they may experience when they go online.
As technology continues to advance, cybercriminals will develop newer tactics that they can use to breach your systems and steal your data. Although the specifics may be difficult to understand for younger kids, you can at least give a general overview of the potential scams and risks that they may experience. For instance, you should tell them about how hackers can use the vulnerabilities in the IoT devices that your kids use, aka, their smart speakers, watches, and toys. Hackers can find a weak spot in that chain and use it to steal your data.
You should also teach your kids the basics of viruses, including how a device might get a virus. It can often happen when your kids download songs or video games from the internet or plug in an external drive that contains a piece of malware. Inform your kids never to download anything or attach any hardware without speaking to you first.
Advise your children that doing anything online and watching a screen for too long can be hazardous to their health. The dangers of increased screen time have been well-documented and can include vision issues, including strain, fatigue, and dry eyes. Excessive screen time can also have a negative impact on how much sleep your kids get at night.
Avoid Oversharing Online
One of the most important lessons that you can teach your kids about online safety is the danger of oversharing. Studies show that 45% of minors have a profile on a social network, and the average 11-year-old posts at least 26 times per day. The issue is that if you say too much online, you can give criminals material that they can use against you.
Kids may get excited about taking pictures of themselves and showing every activity that they do throughout the day. However, the danger is that criminals and child predators can steal those photos and use them for malicious purposes or share them with other criminals. Even taking a picture of your child in front of their school will tell criminals where they attend classes, and that can lead to dangerous situations.
However, it is not only the pictures you share but also the information. Currently, many parents are experiencing account takeovers, where a hacker can use the information that you share online to try and guess the passwords to online accounts, like banks and stores that you frequent. If you have your card information tied to that store, then the hacker can find it and use it to make fraudulent charges.
Educate your children on the risks of sharing too much information. Advise them not to give out too many specifics when they post online and to be cautious of whom they speak to while online.
Teach Them About Passwords
The key to online safety is a good password. Every program and website that you use should have its own unique password that includes a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. An even better idea is to create completely random passwords and store them in a password keeper that will secure them all in one place.
Teach your kids that they should not use personal information in their passwords. Hackers will often look through your social media profiles to find clues that can help them easily guess your credentials. They can also try brute-force attacks to gather an endless number of combinations in an attempt to guess your password, so if you make it too easy, then it is almost a guarantee that they will access your accounts.
If your kids are too young to really grasp the idea behind how to create an effective password, then it is up to the parents to ensure that they have the proper protection in place. If they can understand, then you can try to make the instruction fun by telling them about things like World Password Day. It is a celebration of the power of the password, and it reminds us that trying tricks like writing down our passwords on a physical piece of paper can help us remember without putting our data in danger.
As you can see, there are many lessons that you can teach to your children about the importance of online safety. Teach them what you can now, and they will use those lessons as they continue to build their relationship with technology.