As summer winds down and the back-to-school season ramps up, it’s the perfect time to review the importance of safeguarding children’s online presence. In a time characterized by the prevalence of social media and digital sharing, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with posting and sharing personal information about your children on these platforms. This applies to both you and them! It can lead to potential cybersecurity breaches, and it can also have long-lasting consequences for your child’s privacy and safety. Here are some vital pointers and tips to assist in upholding your family’s online safety as your children return to school.
Protecting Personal Information
When it comes to social media, it’s fun to share our lives with the world, but it’s also important to exercise caution, especially when it comes to our children. Avoid sharing sensitive details like full names, date of birth, school names, and locations on public platforms. Cybercriminals can exploit this information for identity theft, scams, and even physical harm.
Think Again Before Posting Photos
While sharing adorable back-to-school photos might seem harmless, consider the potential consequences. Posting pictures that reveal school uniforms, classrooms, and home addresses can inadvertently expose your children to risks. Always ensure your privacy settings are appropriately configured, limiting access to close friends and family members only.
Raise Awareness with Your Kids
Teach your children about the importance of online privacy and responsible internet use - they are never too young to learn about cybersecurity! Encourage them to be cautious about the information they share online, emphasizing that not everyone on the Internet has good intentions. Help them understand the potential consequences of oversharing and empower them to make smart choices.
Strengthen Privacy Settings
Frequently assess and modify your privacy preferences across social media networks. Implement stringent restrictions on the audience that can access your posts and your children's details. Make use of functionalities enabling you to authorize tagged photos and content before they become visible on your profile, granting you enhanced authority over your online presence.
Use STRONG Passwords
For any online accounts related to your children’s school or extracurricular activities, ensure you use strong, unique passwords. Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long, and include upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. If you can easily memorize it, it's probably not a strong password!
Stay Informed About Apps and Websites
Keep up-to-date with the apps and websites your children are using. Some platforms may collect personal information or have questionable privacy practices. Research and understand the privacy policies of these platforms before granting access to your child. "Free" really isn't free online.
Talk About Online Activities
Consistently initiate candid conversations with your children about their online experiences. Ask about the websites they visit, the apps they engage with, and the interactions they have. Create an atmosphere of trust so they feel comfortable discussing any uncomfortable situations that may arise.
Humans are the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity. This includes your different roles as an employee, parent, or simply a citizen within any community. Cybersecurity is NOT a "set it and forget it" task - ongoing learning is key!
Reach out to our team at Ekaru to learn more about cybersecurity and the smart and affordable things you can do to stay safe online. We'll be seeing school buses soon here in Massachusetts, and this is always a great reminder to keep learning!