At today’s Safer Internet Day, Avast (LSE:AVST), a global leader in digital security and privacy products, publishes tips for parents on how to empower their children to stay safe when learning and playing online.
“Our children are growing up in a world where the internet is a basic essential of life. They do not view the online world as new technology like some of us do – to children it has always existed,” said Luis Corrons, security evangelist at Avast. “Therefore, they don’t approach their interaction online with the caution that we might. They only see a screen that reacts to their button taps, innocently unaware of the invisible risks at play.”
That’s not to say we should scare them, but we do need to remind kids how to use the internet and ensure they use the internet safely and confidently and empower them to protect themselves.
Avast has the following nine online safety tips for parents to talk to their children about:
- Avoid posting any personal information online. This includes your full name, home address, email address, and phone number.
- Learn where the privacy settings are on each website you use and adjust them all to their highest settings. Get in the practice of always doing this.
- Remember that everything you post online lives there forever, so think twice before uploading pictures and videos of yourself (or family or friends) or posting comments you may regret later.
- Keep your passwords secret from everyone except your parents. If anyone asks you for your passwords online definitely do not give it to them and tell your parents right away.
- Add an extra layer of security. Two-factor authentication means that there is an extra layer of security to access your accounts, for example apart from your password, you will also have to authenticate via a code sent to or scanned by a second device, like your phone. On social media this is an important option to turn on in the settings to ensure that your account remains yours but also so your parents can see where and when you are logging in.
- Remember that not everyone is who they say they are online. It’s too easy to pretend you’re someone else. For that reason, shy away from befriending any strangers online, and never make plans to meet with someone you don’t know.
- Speak frankly about cyberbullying. If you suspect that you are being cyberbullied notify a responsible adult. You should also talk with a grown-up if you think a friend is being bullied online. It’s useful to be aware of the signs of cyberbullying on social media.
- Respect other people’s views. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, including you. Always feel free to state what you believe but do so without being rude or mean!
- How do you feel? If you see or hear anything online that makes you uncomfortable, stop interacting with the app or website, and speak to a trusted adult about it right away.
“These topics should be ongoing conversations with your children. Parents should check in on their children’s digital life as they check in on their school days and other aspects of their lives. They should show them this is an area of serious concern, but one that can be easily managed with proper online habits, smart choices, and good communication. Also, it almost goes without saying, but if you add a digital device to your list of back-to-school supplies, add a reputable antivirus too so you can protect them from any potential threats that they wouldn’t be aware of,” Luis Corrons adds.