Title : Back to School - Security Hygiene - Updated

Posted by : Tariq Azmi | 2021-08-10

Back to School & Security Hygiene

During the covid the growth in technology use rose immensely, pre-COVID we (at least I) was concerned about screen time for the kids on the phone.  Last year and this year again some school have the option for remote learning. As a parent, it is harder to monitor kids online activities, surfing habits, etc. 

Here are couple of interesting studies,

  • 40 percent of children have connected with a stranger online
  • 53 percent of those children having revealed their phone numbers.

The 1st step is always education and training.

DIGITAL SAFETY PLAN

Sit your children down and explain the dangers of giving identifying information, such as phone numbers, home addresses, turning on webcams, etc  to people they don’t personally know. Tailor the discussion to your child’s age. This is a good parallel of “Stranger Danger” conversation this applies to the cyber world. Spend time with your children to teach them about internet safety, particularly cyberbullying and safe internet practices.

Cyber Bullying.

This topic requires quiet a bit of attention and training. As new platform come to the market understanding them and then teaching the kids how to recognize Cyber Bullying is critical. Teach your children that if they ever encounter cyberbullies, they should report these incidents immediately.

New Social Media Platforms:

Practice continuous internet safety education in your home. The digital channels your kids visit frequently will change over time. As I write this, TikTok is the most popular social media outlets kids are using. It used to be Facebook, then Instagram, then SnapChat. As a parent it is important you keep yourself educated of all the platforms. Clubhouse is the new and upcoming platform it is by invite only at this time.

Cyber Hygiene Guidelines

Set some Cyber Hygiene guidelines at that everyone needs to follow. Here are few of the examples

  1. Never share their password (Emails, school ID, social media accounts, etc)
  2. Create guest WiFi at home for when Guest and Friends visit.
  3. Posting on social media, NO Locations, NO Address, Appropriate pictures only.

Cover all webcams when not in use

With a few tweaks to Google searches, anyone can locate and access unsecured webcams, including cams located in people’s houses — maybe even your house. Make sure that your kids, and everyone else in the house, cover their webcams when they’re not in use. If your webcam doesn’t come with a privacy cover, use a sticky note or a piece of masking tape.

Teach your child to avoid phishing scams

In the real world, you teach your children not to get into cars with strangers. Online, you need to teach them not to click on links or file attachments sent to them by strangers, as well as not to respond to messages requesting login credentials.

Protect your child’s passwords

Since about 80% of all data breaches can be traced back to stolen or compromised passwords, the simplest yet most important thing you can do to protect your child online is to make sure they’re exercising good password hygiene, including:

  • Using strong, unique passwords for all of their online accounts
  • Never sharing their passwords with other people
  • Using two-factor authentication (2FA) on every site that supports it

Lastly, as a parent
Recognize that your children are tech savvy, but not cyber savvy.

Today’s children are growing up in the digital age of screens and social media, and it can be difficult as a parent to keep pace with the latest technologies and platforms. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, 66% of parents say that parenting is harder today than it was 20 years ago with many citing technology as a reason why.

Familiarize yourself with your children’s devices and learning platforms, particularly with how to configure parental controls and privacy settings. Children know the workarounds, so you’ll need to be vigilant about the content they have access to. That said, children are less likely to be aware of security best practices. Make sure that you're practicing basic cybersecurity hygiene with your children and their devices

There are lot of great resources online for you. Few of the website for you to visit and read through for more tips

https://www.iamcybersafe.org/

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