There are numerous benefits of being online for children, like easy access to tons of resources with educational and entertaining content. But there are also numerous threats, like data snoops, hacker attacks, sexting and various sites, luring teenagers to porn, gambling and malicious sites.
Here are seven easy steps to protect your child from these threats:
1. Talk to your kids. Start discussing online safety with your kids even before they get access to tablets, smartphones and laptops. Every child knows the web is a source of answers to any question, fun games and tons of videos of funny kittens and favorite cartoons. But only a few know that the Internet is the place with viruses, phishers, scammers and many other internet safety and security threats. Tell them about possible dangers and ways to avoid them.
2. Use parental control software and safe search engines. There are many solutions that keep track of visited websites, limit the Internet connection time, block malicious or porn websites, block suspicious games and report any unusual online activities. Also, you can set up special search engines for kids that filter content.
3. Help your children to create strong passwords. A strong password should incorporate letters, numbers and special characters. In order to remember it, they can try to form a mental image. Explain that passwords should not be shared even with friends or posted online. Moreover, you should remind them to change passwords every few months.
4. Teach them to beware of clicking unknown links or opening files from unknown senders. Explain your children the consequences of installing games or downloading archives from unsafe websites. Ask them to be honest and confess if they unintentionally installed malicious software onto their or your device. Trustworthy relationships with your kids will help you to react quickly and prevent sensitive information leaks. If you find out that spy malware or any other malicious file was installed on your PC or mobile phone, show your kids how to delete it, change passwords with them and remind them about online safety measures.
5. Install antivirus software. Choose antiviruses with a real-time scanning function and alerts about potential threats so your kids do not click dangerous links.
6. Keep software up-to-date. Always check for available firmware updates and patches, and download the latest versions. The newer the version is the less chances are that hackers can attack your child’s device.
7. Secure the Wi-Fi connection. Whether at home or in public places it’s better to protect your devices with VPN. With apps like VPN Unlimited you can set up protection on your Wi-Fi router to be sure your photos, private messages, credit card numbers and passwords are safe, encrypted and private. Install VPN on your kids’ devices too so their online activity is protected in public Wi-Fi hotspots and no one can access their personal data.
Even though the temptation to limit the time online for your kid is high and seems the right decision, this is not the solution. Wi-Fi hotspots in parks and cafes, and friends’ devices with internet access will lure your child to social channels, streaming videos and online games. The best way to protect them is to educate them and help them use special tools to prevent cyber attacks.
And what security and safety measures do you take?