Children are the most vulnerable Internet users and a primary target for numerous online scams. According to statistics, cybercrime against children is increasing as we witness the first generations growing up surrounded by digital gadgets.
Cybercriminals successfully target children who are yet to learn of online safety, and it’s up to the parents to guide them. Undoubtedly, cybersecurity is a complex topic with deep technical intricacies. However, this short tutorial aims to provide tips for any concerned parent without overburdening with high-tech jargon.
Research the Risks
Firstly, you should be aware of the contemporary online dangers for children. The World Economic Forum used its platform to promote online child safety in 2020, stressing the importance of a parental figure. The Internet is growing daily with new online attractions and dangers. Furthermore, as modern societies master digital technologies, some rotten apples choose cybercrime as their misguided path.
It’s best to educate yourself on the contemporary online threats to children and discuss basic online safety tips. Younglings should avoid elaborate conversations with unknown Internet users. They will inevitably meet such people in video game chat rooms, but adding them to Facebook friends or TikTok group chats should be a red alert.
It’s especially important to teach children about online privacy. They should not share their real names or use them for in-game nicknames. The same applies to a telephone number, home address, and other personally identifiable information. Cases, where minors are lured into using a webcam or sharing pictures, should be scrutinized and, on most occasions, immediately reported to the authorities.
Lastly, cybercriminals often attempt to take over children’s online accounts. For example, popular games like League of Legends or Call of Duty accounts could be worth up to a few hundred dollars. Moreover, a child would lose any progress they put into the beloved activity.
Make sure they know that it’s never a good idea to share account login-password combinations. Even better, if your little one is of sufficient age, you can introduce them to password managers. Some of them offer affordable family plans for whole-household protection and are particularly easy to use. It’s an excellent way to introduce yourself and your family to standard cybersecurity software – this knowledge will have a long-lasting positive effect.
Mandatory Cybersecurity Software
Nowadays, using additional cybersecurity software is unavoidable. Remember that children are curious. They can stumble upon more risky websites by mistake, download a virus, or fall prey to a Phishing scam.
Luckily, cybersecurity experts develop protection software to be as user-friendly as possible. We recommend looking into at least these options: an AntiVirus, a Virtual Private Network, and secure Cloud storage.
There are many Anti-viruses for family use. They combine affordability and ease of use and provide sufficient protection to let your children use the Internet safely. However, ensure they have parental control features and (mostly relevant to US users) identity theft protection. A reliable AntiVirus will regularly scan the device for viruses and inspect the downloads, so you can feel safe that your child will not download anything malicious.
A Virtual Private Network is an online privacy protection tool. Furthermore, advanced VPNs offer real-time online protection, scanning the Virtual for suspicious activity. They will alert your child if they enter an insecure website and block the entrance. Furthermore, VPN will hide your child’s unique IP address (it’s like a home address for Internet devices), which is often used for cyberbullying.
Lastly, many youngsters take thousands of pictures and hundreds of videos. We recommend storing such information in a secure and encrypted online Cloud. It will protect this sensitive information from data leaks. Exposing their most intimate moments to online bullies can be a particularly traumatizing experience.
Cybercrime against minors is especially troubling, but it’s also easy to defend against. Most cybercriminals target children expecting zero cybersecurity defenses, and you can surprise them by using at least some discussed protection. Moreover, you don’t have to drain your wallet, as many services provide family-friendly plans with occasional discounts!