Cyber security and children

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Is it possible to teach children how to be cyber smart? Over the past few weeks, Catena Media’s Information Security team has gone over different aspects of cyber security for professionals. Today we want to focus on something a little different: How to help your children to learn basic cybersecurity concepts.

Children today have access to multiple devices and they need to know how to utilise them safely. Your 7-year-old may know how to sync your phone with the TV, reboot the WiFi, and go on Youtube to watch videos, but that doesn't mean they know how to stay safe online. Catena Media’s Information Security team knows this is an anxious time for parents and have created a guide about cyber security for kids and how you can help them be cyber smart.

What your children need to know

Cyber safety is not just about teaching your children how they should behave online and telling them not to talk to strangers. Parents need also involve themselves in these conversations by talking openly with them, and using the tools and techniques that are likely to have the largest impact on their children’s online experience:

Talk about the stakes early on

Teaching your children about cyber security and the dangers they might encounter online is an essential part of today's society. Advising them how to utilise these technologies safely will help prevent any cyberbullying, hacking, or identity theft they may experience online when you are not around. The best way for parents to teach their children tech-savvy skills early on so that it does not become problems later down the road.

Talk to them about privacy

Children tend to get easily distracted and are curious about new things. Point out the dangers in online games, social media platforms, or even applications that ask for personal information like passwords. If they are unaware of the risks it could lead to something dangerous! 

Hackers can find what type of car you own as well as your address from photos and geolocation, or even pictures from years ago. They might also know who has football practice on Mondays because they looked up one person's social media profile. It may seem like harmless fun but these details can be a threat to you and your children’s security. 

A good example of something that seems innocent but can end up being a security threat: your child shares his picture with you and the family dog. What is one common security question to ask before signing into an online account? Your pup's name.

Stranger danger

It’s essential to prepare your child to identify red flags in any online communication with strangers. Relate real-world scenarios to online situations: you teach your children to seek out an adult they trust and never speak to a stranger. Relate that to a scenario they could run across on the internet and stress how important it is to also come talk with you about this. Advise them to be cautious about whom they befriend and lay down some of the risks they expose themselves to.

Use strong passwords

Passwords remain the first line of defense for any account and their security should never be compromised. Encourage your children to use a complex password that includes symbols, numbers as well upper/lower case letters; they can even add extra characters [email protected]#$%^&*. To make remembering those strong passwords easier on themselves (and you!). 

Many people create lists or templates using online password management tools which store all usernames and passwords in one place without having them scattered across different applications and browsers utilized daily by each member within a family unit.

Make the subject fun

One of the most significant ways to ensure your kids are safe online is by engaging them in cyber security. Get creative with fun activities that explain key concepts about this.

Get inspired by websites such as “Culture of Cyber Security” where you can discover a collection of fun and educational activities about cyber security.

We hope these tips were helpful - Now it's time to initiate this conversation with your children.