9 Cybersecurity Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online
October is #CyberSecurityMonth, we’re shining a spotlight on kids’ safety online. From bullies to strangers and password security, here are 10 ways to help protect your children when they are surfing the web.
Discuss internet safety openly
Talk to your kids about what they’re reading, streaming, and who they’re talking to online—and try to keep that line of communication open as they grow. It’s a good idea to keep a list of the sites and apps they use and review them together. Also be sure to talk about their online presence, behavior, and reputation, and how it might impact how others view them, at school and in other parts of their life. Even if they think their profiles aren’t public, remind them that anything posted to the internet is never fully private.
Especially for young children, supervise their use and keep screens where you can see them.
It may be a good idea to keep the computer in a central location in your home so you can easily keep an eye on what your young child is viewing. Depending on your comfort level, you can also make a no devices or gaming in the bedroom rule, and can even set mobile devices to forget WiFi passwords so you always know when your children are online. Checking browser histories is also an option, though this approach becomes harder as children age and learn to clear histories.
Use parental controls and adjust privacy settings
Games, apps, social media sites, and electronic devices often come with parental control options and different privacy levels. Educate yourself on how to use each, and set restrictions that feel right for you across your web browser, internet provider, and devices. One easy tool is SafeSearch Filters on Google, that will block sites with explicit material, but there are plenty of other free and paid resources to choose from for added protection.
Tell your children to avoid publicly sharing personal information, photos, and videos.
Explain the risks of personal information and images being made public once they’re posted—even if your child posts on a private profile. There’s no definitive way to control the spread of something once it’s published online. Encourage your child to ask themselves if the information is something they would give to a stranger—before they post it.
Teach them to keep their location private
Be aware of geotagging in apps, on networks, and on devices. Many of these share this information publicly as a default showing your exact location. Make sure you show your child how to turn off these features and explain the safety reasons. Photos can often contain metadata that reveal unwanted information, like time, date, and GPS coordinates, but luckily some social media platforms will automatically hide this data.
Look for signs of abuse and cyberbullying.
Change in your child’s behavior when it comes to use of electronic devices, concealing their activity, acting withdrawn, exhibiting angry outbursts, anxiety, or depression can all be signs of online abuse, cyber bullying, or inappropriate behavior from someone online. Encourage your children to always tell a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult if anyone acts them to engage in inappropriate behavior online—and to talk about any cyberbullying they may experience.
Cyberbullying is a serious issue—so much so that insurance agencies have started recognizing it and including it in their coverage. Arbella, offers coverage for legal expenses and temporary relocation expenses related to cyberbullying, as well as costs related to temporary private tutoring if a child needs to be removed from school due to cyberbullying.
Teach children about boundaries—online and off.
Always teach your children the importance of saying no to inappropriate requests or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult about anything that they’re unsure about.
Lead by example and get savvy
Get familiar with the social networks and apps your children are using so you can help them be as safe and informed as possible online. If you lead by example by modeling positive online behavior, your children are more likely to follow you.
Home Cyber Protection coverage is designed to protect individuals and families after a cyberattack has occurred. Home Cyber Protection coverage protects policyholders when a member of their household has been targeted by a cyberattack, cyber extortion, online fraud, data breach and cyberbullying.
Want to learn more about this endorsement? Contact your local Bearingstar agent today. Give us a call at 877-801-7424 in Massachusetts, and 888-519-9996 in Connecticut.
- Keeping Children Safe Online. US Dept of Justice. https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/keeping-children-safe-online
- Keeping Kids Safe Online. Scholastic. https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/technology-and-kids/keeping-kids-safe-online.html
- 10 things every parent can do to keep their kids safe online. Childrens Health Queensland. https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/blog-10-things-keep-kids-safe-online/