School is back in session. Unfortunately, this fall, parents are once again having to prepare in case online learning is fully instituted again. Protecting your child’s personal information and their privacy is essential for your own peace of mind.
Before we outline cybersecurity tips for your home, we’d like to emphasize the importance of regularly having conversations with your child about staying safe online. While it may be difficult at first, checking in often will help your kids think twice about their online activities and make safer choices. Talk to them about cyberbullying, being cautious when talking to strangers online, and never sharing sensitive personal information.
Be realistic and realize many interactions they have online are out of your control. Building trust with your child so that they come to you for guidance and help, instead of hiding their activity, is a solid foundation to strive for. Better Business Bureau recommends the following steps to keep your child safe online while learning from home:
• Call your internet provider and ask about their protection policies. Your internet provider can be a great resource in helping protect your home and preventing hackers. Ask if they can perform a safety check addressing wireless network encryption, a VPN (Virtual Private Network), the firewall etc. Compare plans and features to help decide which internet provider is best for you. Some companies offer savvier features than others such as curfews, monitoring, and parental controls.
• Purchase Antivirus Software. Antivirus software is a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search for, detect, and remove viruses, and other malicious software (malware). Investing that initial expense will help save you money in the long run since malware can slow down the performance of your device, shorten its lifespan and put your personal information at risk.
• Tune up your search engine. Parental controls can be used on search engines to help filter out websites depending on your comfort level. Once parents set restrictions, Google will block sites with explicit material (Preferences/SafeSearch Filtering).
• Constantly check the privacy settings on apps and devices. Enabling accounts to be private makes it that much more difficult for strangers to contact your child. It also helps protect their personal information from being shared with third party app affiliates.
• File sharing sites. Advise your children to always ask for permission before downloading anything onto their computer. Many websites allow children to download free media. What they may not know is…these sites often come with the risk of downloading a virus that allows identity thieves to access their computer and personal information.
For more consumer tips visit www.trust-bbb.org.