Back-to-school came with a whole new set of difficulties this year. Whether your school went fully virtual or implemented a hybrid program, kids and parents have had to familiarize themselves with new online platforms. With so much time spent online, it’s important that you are teaching and practicing online safety.
Are you doing everything you can to protect your children from online predators or scammers? There are many strategies to ensure laptops, smartphones and other devices are secure. To help, Norton has a list of back-to-school online safety tips. Read through to make sure you’ve put them all into practice.
Update your antivirus software
You should have antivirus protection on all your school and family devices. Has it been a while since you downloaded your antivirus software? You may need to update it.
Schools are typically responsible for updating their devices on campus, but if you’re using a device provided by the school at home, it’s worth making sure it has antivirus software installed.
Turn on automatic updates
Turning on automatic updates for your anti-virus, apps and programs will ensure they are up to date. Outdated programs are more vulnerable to being hacked. These hackers can release malware on your device and steal personal information.
Phishing scams have become all too common, no matter what age you are. A phishing scam is when a cyber thief uses an email to trick victims into releasing personal information.
These emails have gotten more advanced over the years, so it’s important you and your kids know what to watch out for. Don’t release any sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, or passwords, via email.
Cover your computer’s webcam
While the webcam is helpful when you’re having a Zoom meeting, it can actually be hacked. Criminals can use the webcam to spy on computer users without them knowing. To prevent this, cover the webcam with tape when it’s not being used.
Secure your passwords
While it can be frustrating to think of a 12 letter password with an uppercase letter, a character, and a number, it will make all the difference in your security. Weak passwords are easy to hack. It’s also suggested that you use a different password for each account. This way if one is hacked, the criminal won’t be able to access everything. Make sure your kids understand the importance of a strong password.
Beware of cyberbullying
In this digital age, cyberbullying has become a serious threat to kids. A 2019 study by the Cyberbullying Research Center found that 37% of students have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime. Talk to your kids about what cyberbullying entails, what to do if it happens to them, and the consequences if they are found bullying someone online.
Don’t leave devices unattended
If you have your device on campus, don’t leave it unattended. It’s easy for children to get distracted and a thief will take advantage of this. If a device is stolen, the thief can hack it and access any emails, files, or other personal information stored on it. Make sure your kids know how important it is to keep track of their devices.
Enable a lock screen
Another security measure is enabling a lock screen on all devices. This will make it harder for a criminal to access any information on a stolen device. It will also prevent other kids from “borrowing” a phone to access information or send messages pretending to be the owner of the device.
Ensure computer’s have filtering software
The internet is full of information. Unfortunately, not all of this information is appropriate for kids. Be sure that all your kid’s devices have filtering software that will block pornography, racist sites, or violent messages.
While the stress of school may be getting to you, you can rest easy knowing that your kid’s devices will be secured. Be sure to have an open discussion with your children about online safety so that you’re on the same page about what’s okay to share and what should be kept private.