Cybersecurity extends beyond the 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.
Cyber safety should be top-of-mind no matter the age of the user.
Kids going back to school is an exciting time. But in the rush to fill pencil boxes and buy notebooks, parents sometimes forget about the digital safety aspects of preparing them for school. Practicing good cyber safety should begin early and follow kids to college.
5-7 year olds: Children in this age group don’t typically carry cell phones, but some do. Others have tablets they use to play online games or watch videos. If parents download movies onto the tablet, they already know what is being loaded. However, be aware that some of these tablets have integrated browsers. When connected to wifi, they can browse the internet, access YouTube videos and anything else. Look for parental control software or an app compatible with the operating system of these basic tablets to insure they only browse approved sites.
8-10 year olds: This group typically has a cell phone. If they do not have a phone, or 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 that “cyber state of mind” 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 steps ensure kids get out the door and off to school as safely as possible.
Because the internet changes so rapidly, it can be a moving target. Trying to keep up with inappropriate websites is challenging because it changes daily. 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 these mobile best practices.
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.
Family Tracking – Life360
The new bark app
New Subscription Service ‘Circle Go’
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