In this day and age, kids, of all ages need to know about cyber security. They have access to the Internet on tablets, phones, computers and even on their toys; with that access, they could be putting themselves—or others—at risk.
Why kids need to know about cybersecurity
Kids are far more trusting than adults and for that reason, you teach them not to talk to strangers – but what about on the Internet? Have you discussed talking to strangers online and that people are not always who they say they are or truthful online? Hackers can pose as anyone online. They can ask your kids seemingly innocent questions that give them the information they need to steal your identity or they could trick your child into downloading malware.
How about pay-to-play games? Has your child ever asked for your credit card to buy credits on their favorite app? Well, sometimes they don’t ask. And sometimes, the games they play are not secured. Your child could be giving your credit card information to hackers in exchange for an extra life on a video game.
How to talk to kids about cybersecurity
There are myriad of reasons why kids should know about cybersecurity, and as a security professional, you’re well aware of the risks. Here are some suggestions when it comes to talking to your kids about those risks and those tough cybersecurity topics in terms they will understand.
- Don’t talk to strangers: Whether it is on social media, in a chat room or in your email, don’t talk to people you don’t know. Alert an adult if someone is persistent.
- Ask before sharing: Talk to an adult before entering contests or signing up for new accounts. Do not give out your name, address, age, phone number, birthday, email address, where you go to school, and other facts about you unless an adult says it is OK.
- Beware of tricks: Just like in real life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Anyone who says they will give you a free phone or concert tickets is likely trying to trick you into giving up personal information.
- Age limits are set for a reason: Even though your children may want to have their own devices or set themselves up on social media channels, be advised that there are rules as to how old children can be for such things. And although the rules don’t always protect against hackers and cybercriminals, they are good guidelines to follow. It’s always good to know the privacy policies and guidelines for different online platforms.
Kids may be trusting, but they are also smart. Talk to them about cybersecurity regularly and they will listen. And you will feel better about their safety online.