Cyberattacks occur every day at a rate of approximately 1 million, and they do not target only adults and companies. Cybercrime can affect anyone who uses the internet, even your children. Online crime is the fastest growing crime in the US, and children are the most vulnerable victims. AVG recently found that less than half of parents and guardians talk to their children about online safety.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education published the “Children’s Internet Usage Study” and revealed some shocking statistics.
- 40% of children have chatted online with strangers.
- 53% of respondents revealed their phone numbers
- 15% of them tried to meet strangers
- 6% of respondents revealed their home addresses
It’s scary! It’s time to start a conversation about cybersecurity with your children if you haven’t already.
Cybercriminals approach children in a different way than they approach adults. An adult might be lured to click on a suspicious link in phishing emails, while a child may be targeted with suspicious links that lead to a fan website, funny video or game.
Your child should approach cybersecurity the same way as you would with real-life situations. As parents, you have always stressed the importance of their safety and cautioned them against contacting strangers. Start the conversation by telling them to treat online communication and their online activities as they would in public. They wouldn’t talk to strangers on the street so they should not accept friend requests or engage in conversation with strangers online.
Explain to them that online criminals are just as criminals as in real life who try to seize people’s money and information. Although it may seem safer to do business online than face-to-face, these criminals can steal your information and infect your computer.
Cyberbullying is another problem that children face online. Cyberbullying can be described as sending abusive messages via chat, email and/or SMS; spreading rumors via group texts and social media; and posting degrading items on social media. Cyberbullying affects around 15% of high school students.
They should be able to share the key safety rules with you.
Use a complex password and don’t include your personal information in it.
- Install any app without permission
- Your password should not be shared with anyone, except your parents.
- Do not add people you do not know to your social media friends or followers.
- All of your social media accounts should be kept private
- Social media is not a place to post sensitive or personal information, such as your email address, phone number or address.
- Without permission, never upload photos of others without their consent
You should create all accounts for your children (emails, social media, Youtube, etc.) and keep them updated. One in five children is subject to online sexual solicitations by predators or cybercriminals. It is important that their usernames or profiles do not reveal their age, gender, and/or hometown.
When they use the internet, keep your kids in good eyesight and in the same areas as you. If your child is aware that you might be walking by or hearing something, they are less likely to view suspicious or questionable content.
Kid-friendly search engines such as KidRex, KidKiddle and Safe Search Kids can be used. Make sure to check your browser history before you install any privacy and security features.
To make sure your child doesn’t encounter inappropriate ads, viruses or other harmful content, disable java in all web browsers.
You should limit their online usage after they have completed their homework and other relevant projects.