With the new school term just around the corner we’ve put together some top tips for both kids and parents.

Self-protection
  • Privacy settings allow you to control who can see the content you share. Typically privacy settings are found within the settings of an account. Remember though, that content can easily be copied with a screen shot and shared publically. The golden rule is to think before you post.
  • Always set devices up with a strong pin/passcode lock to ensure personal data and images are secure. Strong passwords can be difficult to remember so consider using a password manager which does the remembering for you.
  • Always log out of online accounts when leaving a device in order to secure the content. This is especially true if you are using school computers used by other students.
Antivirus software

Install proven antivirus software on your personal devices. Make sure it auto-updates and you have this feature turned on to ensure the latest in virus protection.

Phishing

Remind the kids about phishing emails and specifically those that target students such as high-end tech for knock down prices, free games and those that offer ‘fast turn-around’ loans for cash strapped students. In short, reiterate the importance of not clicking on email links, or text messages, without verifying the sender.

Webcams

Good webcam practise is essential. For instance, if the kids don’t need the webcam, ask them to cover the camera lens because hacking web cams is a sport for some hackers and a means of blackmail for unsavoury characters. Also be aware of what is in the background while on camera and be careful to not show sensitive information by mistake.

Strong passwords and 2FA

It is very important to use strong passwords and two factor authentication for online services and applications. The password is the first line of defence and if it’s weak and easy-to-guess, a hacker can stroll through what is in effect an open door. Two factor authentication (2FA) provides an invaluable, strong second line of defence if a password is cracked. Most online services now offer 2FA as a matter of course.

Automatic updates

Enabling automatic updates for software, browsers and operating systems takes the guesswork out of security. With automatic updates you can be sure you are always running the latest versions of software which have been patched with the latest security updates.

Younger kids

Good internet habits are important and the earlier you start the easier it is to inculcate cyber security awareness.

Alongside making sure you have proven antimalware software installed and the kids know the importance of strong passwords and how to identify phishing tricks, one of the best ways of keeping kids safe online is by having regular conversations with them.
  • Kids love to help and as the new term school term gets underway why not ask them about what tech they are using and how you can help keep them safe online. For instance you can ask them how they would set up privacy controls on your phone and apps.
  • You want your child to trust you and come to you so never say to them you are going to take away their phone or computing devices. If they think they are going to lose their tech they won’t come to you.
  • Encourage them to share their online experiences and what they do online with their school peers. Ask them what they think the best apps are at the moment and what they think you should have on your phone. By opening the conversation up you will find they tell you about the latest apps they use and are more likely to speak to you if they are having problems.
  • If they do come to you with a problem remember that it has probably taken a lot of courage for them to come and talk to you. Listen first and try not to judge, once they have told you everything, then talk it through with them and try and find a solution together.
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