As parents, it is essential that your kids view you as a loving figure who wants to help them live happy and successful lives. In order to retain that trust, communication is essential. You need to always be there for them, and you must make it a point to keep them abreast of the latest threats. As technology continues to evolve and kids spend more time online, it becomes even more important to stay up to date on the newest trends and do your research so you can ensure that you keep your kids safe.
These days, everything is online, and children spend more time on the internet than ever before. So, it is important that you are vocal about what they are allowed to do and not do, that you keep informed about scams that specifically target kids, and that you check their devices regularly.
Let’s talk about how to teach your kids about cybersecurity and privacy.
Tell Them About The Threats
The sad reality is that while the internet has plenty of informational websites and some educational tools, it is also a haven for cybercriminals and nefarious individuals who want to do harm to you and your family. As parents, you need to research the newest threats and educate yourself on how to avoid them so you can teach your kids.
For example, a major issue is the potential for cyberbullying. Many kids will go online and spread hateful messages or say mean things to other children. However, bullying in any form can be very harmful, so it is important to sit your kids down and tell them that they should report to you immediately if they are being bullied. If the issue persists, then parents can block or ban the bully or delete that account and create another.
It is also a harsh reality that one in seven children has been sexually solicited by online predators. This is possible because the reality of the online space makes it so predators can pretend like they are anyone, including fellow children or family and friends. By sharing a picture or pretending to know the child, they can get them to send their own pictures or convince them to meet in person.
It is important to teach kids of all ages that some people online are dangerous and that your kids should never post personal information, including addresses, phone numbers, or school information, or the predators could use that information to hurt them.
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dangers of the internet, but it is important that parents do their research so they can continue to educate their children. If you need help, then there are many websites that are designed to teach kids about online security, as well as many informational books.
Learn About The Scams That Target Kids
While we have discussed some broad online threats, there are other scams that specifically attempt to target kids, and one of the most common is the phishing email.
Parents should teach their kids about phishing and how they should look for the signs of unusual communications and inform their parents if something doesn’t seem quite right.
If you set up an email account for your kids, then they are going to get messages, and while that is the way of the future, criminals use specific phishing emails to target children.
Phishing emails are designed to try and get an emotional reaction from the recipient, and in most cases, scams for children are attempting to take advantage of their wonderment and happiness.
That is why many phishing scams can be presented as online quizzes, games, shopping scams, and talent scout scams. If your child gets a suspicious email, you should verify that it is the real deal. Look at the link and ensure that it really connects to the real company, and if you are unsure, then don’t click on it.
Since hackers also know that kids and teens are on their phones a lot, there has also been a rise in phishing texts as of late. In many cases, this text may appear to be from a gaming or social media site and ask the kids to confirm their password or provide credit card information.
Again, you should educate your kids on this threat and advise them to come to you if they get a suspicious text so you can validate if it is real.
Stay Close And Involved
Even if your kids are getting older, it is okay to stay close and involved when it comes to the apps and social media sites that they use every day. If your child is interested in downloading an app, then take the time to check it out and ensure that it is safe.
Start by checking the settings and turn off any unnecessary sharing services, like those that give access to photos and contacts in their phone. Also, turn off access to the phone’s video settings, as hackers can use the phone’s camera to spy on your kids and your home.
It is also not wrong for parents to ask their kids for their sign-in credentials for the social media apps they use every day. It is important that you take the time to check in on what your kids are posting and who they may be talking to while they are online.
If you believe they may be speaking to an unsavory character, then don’t be afraid to talk to your child about who that person might be and what kind of conversations are taking place. Again, your kids should feel like they can talk to you candidly about their lives.
Finally, put the proper protections in place to ensure that hackers cannot unlawfully gain your personal information. That means adding complex passwords to the programs on your computer and all online websites that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Also, install antivirus software on every device and run scans several times a week so you can catch a virus or malware that could leak your information or the data of your children.
As you can see, there are many threats to be aware of when we go online. Since technology will continue to be a major part of your child’s life, it is important to educate them on the issues before it is too late. Consider the tips described here today, and you will have a fighting chance.