*This is a collaborative post*
When it comes to online safety, there is probably nobody that you want to protect more than your kids. The dangers of the internet to children are no secret these days, and all it takes is for a hacker to get your child’s password for your family’s sensitive information to be jeopardized, or worse, your child could be talking to somebody online who has bad intentions. Since keeping kids off their devices is getting difficult these days, every parent should set some rules and guidelines to help keep their kids safe and help them develop good habits for life.
Talking to Strangers:
Today it’s become the norm for kids as young as thirteen to be using social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. And while these provide great platforms for children to keep in touch with their friends and families, they can also be very dangerous if your child is speaking to the wrong person. Set strict guidelines about who your child is allowed to talk to online and ensure that they know to come to you if somebody who they don’t know contacts them. If you suspect your child is speaking to somebody that you don’t know online, you can use Nuwber to search for any information that you have on them and find out who they are.
Another key guideline to set with your kids regarding their online activity is the importance of using strong passwords. Explain the importance of using passwords that are not easy to guess as using words like their own name, a friend or relative’s name or their pets name could easily be guessed by anybody who has access to their social media accounts. And, it’s worth explaining to them why they shouldn’t use the same password for different accounts. Setting your kids up with a good password manager tool is a great idea.
Sharing Personal Information:
There have been more and more stories in the news lately about personal information getting out online. Teens especially are very vulnerable to this since they may be more likely to share sensitive photos, for example, with other teens who have no desire to keep them private. It’s important to explain to your child the impact that this kind of information getting out online can have on somebody’s life and that they should avoid sending anything to anybody that they would not want to be made public. And, teach your child about the importance of keeping anything that somebody else sends to them private if they do not have permission to share.
Finally, a good habit to teach your kids from as early as possible when they start using connected devices is to keep their apps, security software and operating system up to date. Updates are not only important for getting the latest features added by developers but also ensure that the system is protected against the latest sophisticated techniques used by hackers and cybercriminals. With hackers always coming up with new ways to get into devices or steal personal information, software updates are required more and more often to ensure that the user has the best level of protection.
When it comes to keeping your kids safe online, the best way forward is to set firm guidelines for online safety and explain why they are important.