Cybersecurity Tips For Parents
Parenting is hard enough even before considering the challenges of online security. In this article I will give you five tips to help you with those challenges. Obviously, every household has different needs, so view these as a generic starting point, and make adjustments as necessary!
Establish a culture of trust.
Create a safe space where honesty won’t be punished and where kids feel comfortable sharing their experiences. If they witness cyberbullying or inappropriate behavior online, or accidentally share something they shouldn’t have, we want to make sure they’ll speak up before it’s too late. Establishing a culture of trust is the best way to gain and maintain a healthy digital presence in your household, and it needs to start at a young age.
Explain the risks of social media and online behavior.
Just like in real life, children should be taught that their online actions come with consequences. Posting harmful content on social media could prevent them from getting jobs or scholarships. Sharing too many personal details could lead to identity theft. Being a troll or a cyberbully might cause great emotional distress for someone else. It’s imperative that our young digital citizens understand how powerful the internet is, and that misusing that power will carry repercussions.
Utilize parental control solutions.
While it’s important to respect the privacy of our children, it’s also important to do what’s best for their safety. Parental control software allows you to monitor internet activity, set time limits, manage contacts and messaging apps, and a bevy of other options that can be customized to fit your household’s needs. Additionally, consider installing antivirus software on every device that allows it.
Set up separate user accounts.
Creating different user accounts allows you to control who gets access to what on shared devices. This is particularly important on any computers that are used by adults and young people because it prevents children from accessing games, files, or accounts that are reserved for mature individuals. This separation also allows you to provide access to certain accounts on a case-by-case basis (such as when multiple age groups share one device).
Demonstrate the value of screens off.
Between work, schoolwork, entertainment, and all of the other built-in reasons to use smart devices, we are accustomed to spending most of the day staring at screens. Unfortunately, excessive screen time presents health risks and can deteriorate relationships. Improve the health of your household by dedicating blocks of time where screens are not allowed for any reason. And this goes for parents too, who must lead by example and highlight the importance of screen-free family time.