We’ve spent a great deal of National Cyber Security Awareness Month talking about our own password habits and ways we can better protect our most valuable information. However, we’re not the only ones in the family using the Internet. In many cases, our children spend more time online than we do. But what we are doing with them to instill best practices so they are better prepared for these challenges when they’re older?
Here are a few tips parents can follow that will help protect their children, and also make themselves more aware of best practices when it comes to online security:
Get the Setup Right
- Put the computer in a central location – Think about not only your online accounts, but also where your home computer is located. Make sure the computer, even if it’s a laptop, is setup in a centrally located place within the house so the temptation is low and you can keep an eye on what they’re doing as needed.
- Create separate accounts – Within your operating system, you can create different accounts for everyone in the family. That way you can designate the access and privileges that your children can have on the computer, without them having access to the Settings where they might be able to adjust those settings without your knowledge.
- Set up policies & profiles – You can also setup unique profiles on individual sites that you access, such as streaming or games, also ensuring that you children can only access the content that you want them to access.
Educate, Educate, Educate
- Your personal information – As your child sets up new accounts online, walk through the process with them so you know the information they’re being asked for and point out why it’s important. Your name, birthday, zip code, hometown – all of this information is valuable and needs to be protected. Also make sure they know which information requires extra care – credit cards, social security numbers, etc. It’s likely they can’t enter this without your help, but let them know why this information is so sensitive.
- Online posting – Yes it’s easy and fun to post a photo or status update, but kids should know that once you make information public on the internet, it’s out there for anyone to find. With that, they want to be careful about what they post – whether it’s something that others might find offensive or if it includes personal information, kids should understand this information can’t be removed once it’s posted.
- Why passwords matter – It’s never too early to instill best password practices in your children. The best way to do this is to go through the account setup process with them. They’ll see the care with which you share personal information, the process for creating a long, unique passphrase for your passwords, and how you share it in a password manager so you won’t forget it. While this might be a no-brainer, make sure your children know that they shouldn’t share their passwords with anyone!
How to be Device Savvy
- Lock your devices – Our cyber security starts with the gateway to our devices. For all of your children’s devices – iPad, computer, iPhone – make sure there is a passcode required to unlock the device and that your child knows what it is so they can unlock it.
- App store settings – Within the app stores, you can designate settings for the types of apps that users can buy, whether it’s by type of app or the cost. That way, you won’t see $50 of unexpected app charges on your next credit card bill.
- Guard your location details – The settings to control who sees your location vary by phone but do a quick search online on location settings for your phone to see what the phone is capturing. You’ll likely want to turn off some of this data capture to help protect your children’s location.
What has worked well in your family? Let us know in the comments below!