Cybersecurity extends beyond offices and businesses and into the home. We’ve asked an OPPD cybersecurity analyst to offer some tips for parents as their kids head back the classroom.
Digital safety should be top-of-mind no matter the age of the user.
Back-to-school time is exciting. But in the rush to fill pencil boxes and buy notebooks, parents sometimes forget about the digital safety aspects of preparing their kids for school. Using good cybersecurity tips for students should begin early and follow students to college.
Students 5 to 7 years old: Children in this age group don’t typically carry cellphones, but some do. Some kids might have tablets they use to play games or watch videos that parents have approved. However, be aware that some tablets have integrated browsers. When connected to Wi-Fi, tablets can access the internet, giving kids access to websites their parents might prefer they avoid. Look for parental control software or an app compatible with the operating system of these basic tablets to insure they only browse approved sites.
Students 8 to 10 years old: Children in this group often have a cellphone. If they do not have a phone, or if you’ve removed access to technology, you should still manage the risks around them. A parent (or grandparent or caretaker) of a young person in the digital age is also a “digital parent,” and they are responsible for teaching their children how to live with technology responsibly.
Getting kids into a “digital safety” mindset isn’t difficult. Parents should be honest with them, tell them the risks, and sit down with them to make a digital safety plan together. Some parents worry about their child’s reaction when they discuss some of these suggestions. Remind them that they are on your wireless plan and you want them to be safe. These simple, easy cybersecurity tips for students can help ensure they get out the door and off to school as safely as possible.
Because technology and the internet change so rapidly, it can be difficult to keep track of which websites and apps your kids should have access to and which they should avoid. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to help.
It would be nearly impossible to read every text message, look at every post and review all of a child’s emails. Good news: Several apps can help monitor your child’s online activity and alert you to dangers. Some of the most popular are Disney’s Circle Go, the Bark app, and the Amazon-backed Luma router. If these tools detect an issue, or see your child is going to an inappropriate site, they detect this and block them. Most of these apps give parents the option to receive alerts and information as to which sites were blocked, so parents can have a conversation with their kids.
This age group is typically already tech savvy, but not always up to date on best practices for keeping themselves safe online. To help them stay out of trouble, or to help prevent someone stealing their identity, follow the mobile best practices below.
For more tips on your specific phone type, try using this tool. It helps smartphone owners protect themselves against mobile security threats. Choose your mobile operating system, then follow the 10 customized steps to secure your mobile device.
For other back-to-school cybersecurity tips, check out the following links.
CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Program Student Resources
Family Tracking – Life360
The Bark app
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