These days, to protect our children’s identity, information, bodies and innocence, we have to do more than simply keep watch at home and elsewhere and out of the hands of nearby predators. Sadly, due to the rise in technology, and the fact that children are using gadgets more and more these days and at younger ages, there are more cybercriminals than ever searching digitally for gaps in security.
It’s important for us to protect our kids from hackers, cyber-stalkers and the like. Scarily, according to some reports, over one million children were victims of fraud or identity theft in 2018. Though, there are things all parents can do to stave off cybercriminals and reduce the risk of information being stolen or children being stalked or digitally attacked in some way. Read on for steps you can take today to help protect your family.
Set up Strong Passwords
For starters, one proactive way to keep your children safe is to set up strong passwords for them that hackers won’t be able to easily crack. These codes should be used to protect the computer devices kids use as well as the accounts they log into (plus the ones you use, where you upload information about your children).
Teach your young family members about what types of passwords are best, so they know how to create proper ones for themselves as needed. Good codes are of at least 12 characters, including symbols, letters (upper-case and lower-case) and numbers.
Install Security Software
When it comes to effective cybersecurity for kids, it’s also necessary to install quality security software on the various devices they use. Choose a product that will provide comprehensive coverage, protecting your family against threats like ransomware, viruses, spyware, spam and other malware.
Also, look for options that specifically work to keep online information such as passwords and usernames safe from prying eyes. Top products will help to protect devices against various data- and identity-stealing applications. Furthermore, choose security software that advertises user privacy when browsing the internet and that is designed to block suspicious links and websites as well as dangerous emails and attachments.
You will increase security further if you purchase a firewall or use the one that’s likely already loaded onto your computer. Firewalls are helpful because they act as an extra layer of protection against hackers who try to use the internet to get access to systems and sensitive data.
Keep in mind that to keep cybercriminals from learning information about your kids, you should regularly update all the protective tools you put in place. Hackers know that if products aren’t updated they won’t have the latest security measures in place and are therefore more vulnerable to attack. As such, to keep systems operating optimally, set them up to update automatically.
Educate Children on How to Stay Safe Online
Of course, since children are often browsing sites online and using internet-connected devices by themselves, you need to educate them on how they can keep themselves safe at times when you’re not monitoring their online activities. There are numerous dos and don’ts you can teach them.
For instance, kids should be taught to never open emails or attachments or click on links from people they don’t know. Tell them they shouldn’t accept social media friend requests from people they haven’t met in real life.
Educate your children about some of the most common scams hackers use. Kids should know about pharming, for instance, where cybercriminals post links to what seem to be credible, popular websites but are actually linking instead to fake versions of sites made to look authentic. If children follow these links and then set up or input account user details, hackers can get access to sensitive information like passwords, email addresses and more. Get your children to type in, directly, the URL address of any sites where they will need to provide personal details. This will reduce the risk of being compromised.