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Publication date: August 8, 2023

How to Keep Your Kids Protected Online

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Written by Angela Polania

Angela Polania, CPA, CISM, CISA, CRISC, HITRUST, CMMC RP. Angela is the Managing Principal at Elevate and board member, and treasurer at the CIO Council of South Florida.

Living in an age where technology plays an integral role in education and entertainment, it has become paramount to ensure that school-aged children are equipped with the necessary cybersecurity knowledge and measures. As our kids increasingly use the internet for learning and socializing, they also become potential targets for cyber threats. Everyone is encouraged to explore the reasons why cybersecurity measures are essential for young individuals. Below are some actionable steps for parents and educators to help safeguard their kids’ online experiences.

Understanding the Importance:

  1. Personal Data Protection: Children often lack the awareness to discern between legitimate and malicious online activities. Cybercriminals can exploit this vulnerability to access personal information, which may lead to identity theft or unauthorized access to financial resources.
  2. Cyberbullying Prevention: The internet can be a platform for negative behaviors like cyberbullying. Equipping children with cybersecurity awareness can help them identify signs of cyberbullying, protect their personal information, and report any incidents.
  3. Safe Online Behavior: Teaching children about safe online practices instills good habits early on. They should understand the significance of strong, unique passwords, the importance of not sharing personal information with strangers, and the potential dangers of clicking on suspicious links.

Practical Measures:

  1. Education: Parents and educators should provide age-appropriate lessons on cybersecurity. Cover topics such as identifying phishing emails, recognizing fake websites, and the potential risks associated with sharing personal information online.
  2. Parental Controls: Utilize parental control software to limit access to inappropriate content and set time limits on device usage. These tools can help create a safe online environment while still allowing children to explore the digital realm.
  3. Regular Communication: Maintain an open dialogue with your children about their online experiences. Encourage them to share any unsettling encounters they might have had and offer guidance on how to handle such situations.
  4. Privacy Settings: Teach children how to adjust privacy settings on their social media accounts and other online platforms. This empowers them to control who can see their posts and personal information.
  5. Critical Thinking: Encourage children to question the legitimacy of online content. Teach them to verify information from credible sources and be cautious when encountering sensationalist headlines or offers that seem too good to be true.

School-aged children are more connected to the online world than ever before and it is imperative to recognize that their vulnerability to cyber threats is equally significant. Prioritizing cybersecurity education and implementing protective measures can help children navigate the digital landscape safely and responsibly. Instilling a strong foundation of cybersecurity knowledge will not only shield them from potential harm, but also empower them to make informed decisions and contribute positively to the digital society they are growing up in!

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