“While it is incredibly important to be aware of the threats and to have systems in place to protect your kids and your online life, it isn’t rocket science,” says Anna Collard, CEO, Popcorn Training, a subsidiary of KnowBe4. “A secure and safe online life can be established following basic steps and by being aware of the dangers.”
Follow these steps to transform yourself and your children into online security guards.
Did you know that you can hover over a link to see if it’s legit? Sometimes cybercriminals will send you fake links to well-known virtual conferencing platforms that ask you to sign in. This is a form of phishing that results in stolen credentials that can be used to hack into your accounts – especially if you use the same password for multiple sites.
The most important security risks you need to know about are:
“Malware, stealing logins, information harvesting or extorting money are all genuine cyber risks,” says Collard. “Teach your kids about these risks and help them to understand how they work. The amount of information you share will depend on the age of your child, but it’s important that they understand the basics.”
Look after your digital identity. Your password is the last, great defence between your information and the cybercriminal. Do you really want to risk your money, information, child’s information and identity by using the password ‘12345’? Lots of people do.
Use a really good password that consists of up to 12 letters by using a phrase or a line of a song and then don’t use it across multiple accounts. One password per account. To make this easier, invest in a reliable password manager that will help you create and manage your logins. Then you only have to memorize one really strong password, and the password manager takes care of all your other ones.
This is combining your password with something that you own, such as a one-time password app on your phone. Most sites such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram support this. You may think that younger kids won’t really understand this, but children are remarkably resilient and capable. If you can instil strong security skills into your kids at a young age, you’ll have set them up for a secure life. Show them how multi-factor authentication works, use it yourself and apply it wherever you can.
Parental controls on home devices like your computers, mobile phones and tablets as well as gaming consoles help parents protect children from inappropriate content, such as pornography or other adult content. Parental controls can also be set on Google, YouTube and enforced via dedicated apps that allow parents to monitor activity, ensure children access only age-appropriate content and set usage times.
It’s hard for kids to sometimes share things that have happened to them online. It’s equally difficult for parents to keep track of everything their children are doing online. To combat this, create a digital contract that allows for you to build trust and openly share concerns. This contract could include information like:
“Parents are guardians of children’s safety and it’s hard to be eternally vigilant online,” concludes Collard. “If you work together to create and stick to a digital contract, then you’re building trust and a safety net for one another. Let the kids choose the rules too – they often know things parents don’t – and make cybersecurity a part of your everyday life.”
SAnews.gov.za is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). SAnews.gov.za (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.Go to: http://www.sanews.gov.za