Even before COVID-19, kids were spending more time than ever online. Contrary to some parents’ beliefs, it’s not just to play games. But today’s children see the world through a digital lens.
Their social lives, entertainment, and, of course, education are all moderated through the lens of connectivity and the internet. Then COVID-19 kicked everything into high gear. With many children now at home full-time or for larger parts of their day, online learning has become even more essential.
And we all know the digital world is full of potential threats. Fortunately, a few easy-to-use tips and tools go a long way in improving online safety. Here are a few things you need to start doing now.
The Threat Landscape
It’s easy to think that if you turn on parental restriction and other tools like Screen Time, you’ll be able to keep the “bad stuff” out. Unfortunately, just not the case.
Cybercriminals routinely attack schools and leak children’s personal information. They might also lurk in children’s spaces and games pretending to be kids of the same age. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s targeting social media, gaming profiles, or anywhere else, you must be careful.
Further, sometimes children’s threats aren’t unknown cybercriminals but each other. Cyberbullying and cyberstalking are rampant nowadays—and this can be even more damaging to your child.
That’s why you need to start taking digital security seriously now to protect your kids from possible danger.
1. Install a VPN on All Devices
VPNs should be the first thing on all cybersecurity checklists. They work to strengthen the security of your internet connection through encryption. Simultaneously, they anonymize IP addresses improving privacy.
VPNs are the best first line of defence against all kinds of digital threats because they minimize your digital footprint and help prevent anybody from intercepting your data.
Best of all, a VPN is easy to use as well. Just install them on all your devices and have them turned on anytime you connect to the internet, and you’ll enjoy much greater security.
2. Get Serious About Password
Stop recycling your passwords. Your kids do this, and you probably do as well. It may make things a little easier when logging into accounts, but it also puts them at great risk.
That’s because if somebody manages to gain access to a password, they can then use it to log in to the other accounts that share it.
For instance, your child might have a password for their school account, and if they use the same one for their email, it could easily cause their data to fall into harm’s way.
That’s why all passwords must be at least 12 characters long and a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Most importantly, they must be unique to each account.
To help you remember all these tricky new passwords, use a password manager, a secure digital vault that stores these passwords and helps your kids access their accounts safely when needed.
3. It’s Time to Communicate
It can be difficult to communicate with your children about what they do online. It’s their private world for some kids, and they don’t want to share what’s happening there with their parents.
We all remember what it’s like to be young, but you need to make sure they are safe. And this begins with them feeling comfortable coming to you if they feel like something strange is going on.
Start by talking to your kids about cyberbullying and other threats like scammers. Help them understand what it looks like and come to you immediately if they recognize something strange going on.
Likewise, take time to engage your kids. Taking a little time each day or a few times per week about what they’re up to online will also help open these communication channels.
Finally, have a team member. Kids may not always feel comfortable sharing with their parents, but maybe on older siblings, babysitters, or somebody else who can report to you if anything unusual is happening.
Keep Your Children Safe in the Digital World
The internet is an amazing place. In terms of learning, our kids now have access to such a large amount of incredible learning. And in these times of lockdown or isolation, it’s absolutely vital for helping them stay connected.
Ensure your kids can enjoy the best of the digital world and start implementing these tips and tools into both yours and their daily lives now.
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