Children across the globe are using computers, tablets and other electronic devices more and more in their everyday lives. The internet can provide a wide range of fun and educational activities for children. However, as children become more tech savvy, their digital profiles can easily become a target for cyber criminals. According to a 2017 study conducted by Javelin Research, more than 1 million children had their identities stolen, and 66 percent of victims were under 8 years old. A child’s identity is more attractive to cyber-crooks because it can allow criminals to open new lines of credit that could go unchecked for years, resulting in a damaged credit score for your child. Additionally, if your child is participating in risky cyber behavior on your home or company WiFi, your entire network could be at risk.
Learning the basics of good cyber hygiene shouldn’t have an age limit. Studies show that individuals between age 8-28 spend about 45 hours each week online. More screen time can come with a price. It’s important to teach your children cybersecurity basics to protect them now and in the future. We’ve outlined a few tips below to help guide you in teaching your child about practicing good cyber hygiene.
Most parents teach their children not to talk to strangers face-to-face. That same “stranger danger” applies in online environments, too, and should be treated with the same urgency. Teach your child that not everyone is as they seem in their online profiles. Cyber criminals and hackers may pose as a friend or family member to appear trustworthy and persuade you to share your personal information with them. A study from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education revealed that 40 percent of children in grades four through eight have talked to a stranger online. Even more alarming, the study revealed that 15 percent have tried to meet a stranger in person. Advise your children to be cautious about who they befriend and explain the risks they can expose themselves to online.
It’s critical that your child uses secure passwords for each online account. The dangers of data breaches are not limited to financial accounts, and any database is useful for cyber thieves, including online games and social media platforms. Instruct your young one to use strong passwords for all of their accounts. They should be sure to use different passwords for different accounts. That way, if a hacker is able to breach one account, it’s less likely they’ll be able to hack all of their accounts. We’ve outlined a few tips to create strong passwords below.
Make sure your password:
In the social media era, both children and adults post about their daily activities, interests, opinions and more. Posting online may seem harmless to children and teens. However, it’s important to stress to your child that once they share something online, the post remains online forever. Advise your child to be cautious about sharing on social media, and to never share private information. Remind your child to never share any of the following information with a stranger.
Technology and the risks associated with it are constantly evolving. Teaching your child how to think critically regarding their cyber hygiene is the best defense against cyberattacks. Remind your child to pause for a moment to consider the consequences of clicking on something, creating a password, installing an app, or posting online. Download the presentation below to help guide your child in staying safe online.