Never before have kids been as exposed to new ideas, new cultures, new music and new art forms as they are today. But the easy accessibility to these new experiences through the Internet, can mean easy accessibility and vulnerable exposure to your child, your computer and your personal information. Below are six tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance to help you, and your kids, stay safe online.
1. Keep a Clean Machine.
Remember to keep your security software current. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, apps and antivirus protection on all devices that connect to the internet. Updating regularly can help protect against malware and online threats. One easy way to do this is by automating all your software updates so that your software programs automatically connect and update to defend against potential risks.
2. Protect Your Child’s Personal Information.
When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. Remind your kids that it’s OK to limit how and with whom they share information.
3. Connect with Care.
Remind your children that links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals gain access to your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk.
4. Be Web Wise.
Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, share with your children and encourage them to be web wise.
5. Be a Good Online Citizen.
What you and your kids do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
6. More Family Online Safety Practices:
Know the protection features of the Internet Service Provider and software your kids use. These protection tools can help manage your children’s online experience (e.g., selecting approved websites, monitoring the amount of time they spend online or limiting the people who can contact them). Remember to stay engaged in your children’s online experience and support their good choices. Try to react constructively when they encounter inappropriate material online – make it a teachable moment. Teach kids to identify safe, credible websites and content. Encourage cautiousness when clicking on links, downloading or posting material. Help your kids understand that they internet has many benefits, but also many risks. Be sure they understand that their digital info such as emails, photos or videos, can easily be copied and pasted elsewhere. Things that could damage their reputation, friendships or future prospects should not be share electronically. And lastly, empower your kids to handle problems such as bullying, unwanted contact or hurtful comments by working with them on strategies for when problems arise.
For more helpful information on how to keep your kids, and yourself, safe online, check out www.staysafeonline.org.