Kids today use the internet for everything, and why wouldn’t they? There is information for every subject known to man at their fingertips! While it’s wonderful that the younger generations now have access to so much knowledge; it doesn’t come without risks to their security.
Most adults know that there are certain rules of the online world that need to be taken seriously, but how do you teach your kids these rules in ways they understand? Here are just a few tips about cyber security that your kids need to know to stay safe online.
Sharing Isn’t Always Caring
The first rule of thumb about online safety kids need to know is to never share your passwords with anyone. Kids like to talk, and if they don’t know that sharing passwords with their friends is not smart, that’s exactly what they are going to do. It’s important to teach your kids that passwords are private and meant to be kept to yourself. Additionally, it’s just as important to teach them how to set up a unique password that no one can guess. Also, enforce the rule of changing passwords every few months so that it will form a habit that will hopefully stick with them for their entire lives.
Keep Your Devices Close
Most kids are notorious for leaving things behind and forgetting their belongings. It’s crucial to teach your kids to be extra careful not to leave their phones, tablets, or other mobile devices out in public unattended. Malicious people are always on the lookout to steal devices because when they get one, they have unlimited access to personal information. Teach your kids the importance of keeping their mobile device in a secure place.
Keep Social Media in Check
Social Media outlets can be great for many things, but only if they can be used with responsibility. Many social media platforms don’t let kids under the age of 13 have an account, but some parents give permission to younger children anyway. The major social media concerns for kids usually revolve around some sort of bullying or stalking. It’s important to teach your kids not to accept friend requests or followers if you don’t personally know them. Also, as a parent keep a close check on all your child’s accounts by logging into them every few days. Set their privacy settings on all of their accounts to the highest possible.
Another tip is to turn off the locations on all their devices so people can’t track them. Likewise, teach them not to give out their location when they are posting so people can’t follow them. Kids don’t realize the dangers of social media, they just see it as a fun way to interact with people. It’s a crazy world out there–help keep them safe by teaching them the dangers of social media.
Know What You Are Clicking
We’ve talked about “phishing” scams on email before, but do your kids know what that means? Teach them not to click every link that comes through their email or social media page. Show them the importance of knowing where and who the link came from before clicking. Randomly clicking unknown links can open your child (and you!) up to a whole world of leaked personal information and possibly a stolen identity. It’s best to be aware of emails that sound scam-my or too good to be true.
Being Kind Will Get You Far
As with anything in life, being a good steward, being kind, and being respectful will get you far. The same is true for the online world. Teach your kids to treat others with respect online by not participating in cyber bullying or any other sort of negative post. Show them how to be very, very selective with what they post on their personal social media channels, because what they put out on the internet lasts forever.
These tips are just a few of the ways to get the online safety conversation started with your kids and teens. If you teach them these few basic tips, they will be set up to continue practicing online safety when they become adults.