Keeping kids safe online is one of every responsible parent’s top priorities, and for good reason. Technology continues to advance at an amazing rate, and each new development in social media and other networking platforms is a fresh opportunity for online fraud and other criminal activity. In the last decade alone, Internet technology has changed our world. As crazy as it may sound, twenty-first century families are among the founding members of today’s online global community.
And that’s a good thing! The Internet has made it possible for working parents to take care of daily tasks quickly and efficiently, leaving us more time to spend with our children. It’s essential, though, that we never forget that a safe and secure online community is not a right; it’s a privilege, and in order to earn it, we have to educate ourselves about cyber security and information assurance—and educate our children, as well.
Here are a few ways we can get ourselves and our kids up to speed on cyber security:
Keeping (Passwords) Secret
- Never Reveal Your Password: Passwords are our first line of defense in our virtual “homes,” and it’s critical that kids understand this. Teach your children not to share passwords with anyone other than you, not even their closest friends.
- Stay in Control: Children (and adults) should always avoid entering passwords online when using public computers, even in safe physical locations such as the library or computer lab at school. Make sure kids understand that all computers outside the home are off-limits for anything but anonymous browsing.
- Never Enter a Password Over Email: Online fraudsters often “phish” for victims by sending email requests that appear to originate from safe, secure sites, some of which you and your kids may visit all the time. Educate yourself about these scams and teach your kids to bring anything that looks “phishy” to your attention.
- Get Educated: The first and foremost rule of teaching children about cyber security and information assurance is to educate yourself. Review the privacy policies and security settings of all the social media sites your child uses and be sure you both understand them. Keep tabs on your child’s page, and be sure he or she understands how to identify and avoid cyberbullying.
- Make the Rules: Establish the fact that Internet usage is a privilege that kids, like everyone else, have to earn. Set limits on the amount of time they spend online and where they spend it. Teach them never to use their full names on social media sites or post pictures that contain identifying info, such as street signs or school colors. Make it clear that your children are never allowed to meet up in person with someone they’ve “met” online.
- Blog Responsibly: Kids – especially tweens and teenagers – blog just as much as (if not more than) adults, but they may not be as wary about sharing personal information on the Web. Use and teach kids the “T-Shirt Test”: If you wouldn’t wear it on a T-shirt, don’t post it online.
Spot and Report Fraud
- Stay Secure: Conduct your own information assurance by teaching your kids, especially teenagers, never to give out their name, address, phone number, or any other identifying data in a chat room or via IM if there’s no way to verify who they’re actually talking to.
- Protect Your Identity: Online fraudsters share common tactics, and it’s important that kids and parents both can recognize them immediately. Unfamiliar financial documents or communications; unsolicited (and preapproved) credit card offers; and phishy phone calls or emails from “collection agencies” are among the most popular. Always report fraudulent activity and close any suspect or compromised accounts immediately.
As technology advances, so do the fields of cyber security and information assurance, and there’s a growing need for savvy citizens (and professionals) to close the “Cyber Security Skills Gap” and keep our Internet safe. The following resources are required reading for anyone interested in protecting the next generation of Internet users.
Microsoft Safety & Security Center (Family Safety): http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/family-safety/default.aspx#Internet-use
About the Author
Dafe Ojaide writes on information assurance and cyber security degree programs and careers for University Alliance on behalf of Florida Tech. For more information visit http://www.floridatechonline.com
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Tags: Computer network security, Computer security, Crime prevention, Dafe Ojaide, Florida Tech, National security, online fraud, Secure communication, Security, social media, Stay Secure Conduct, Technology/Internet, University Alliance
About the Author:Bill Wardell
Bill Wardell Is A Radio Security Journalist, as well as an advocate for Keeping Our Kids Safe!! With over 20 years of experience owning and operating businesses offline and online. Bill has produced and hosted over 475 radio interviews with industry leaders worldwide. Bill Wardell is well known and respected for his expertise of Online Safety & Security both as an Online Radio Host & Radio Security Journalist.
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