In two recent blog posts, we discussed many tips and best practices for implementing information security best practices with your family, and I want to emphasize the importance of open dialogue with your children. When it comes to protecting their identity, reputation and emotional well-being, continuous awareness and discussions are imperative. We’ve all seen the commercials that encourage parents to talk about drugs and alcohol, which are definitely important, and just as important is discussing technology and what they are sharing with others online or via mobile devices.
Not only can children be unaware they are carrying on conversations with much older men or women who are posing as teenagers, but also they can fall into traps of sharing information that is then used against them for manipulation, blackmail or bullying. Sexting and sending inappropriate images has lead to many unfortunate events for both children and adults alike, and your children need to be aware of the outcomes should they participate. It should also be known that what they send and share via email, text or over social media platforms could then be shared by others that they did not intend to receive the messages. Our general rule to all individuals is do not share anything publicly you wouldn’t want seen in a newspaper.
Give them examples of what has happened to others, and be sure to emphasize the importance of protecting not only their reputation but also their emotional and physical security. Be sure to discuss the importance of never providing personal information with individuals met online such as home addresses, school names, siblings’ names, parental work schedules and birth dates.
Talk to them about phishing scams (via text, phone or email) and other internet scams that come in the form of gifts, requesting financial information and more. Here is our recent videos on email phishing and SMiShing that can be good starts to discussions and education.
As we mentioned it the previous blogs, password security should remain a priority, and reminding the children to set a schedule to consistently update and change passwords should be a family effort. I suggest sitting down once a month as a family and discussing internet activity, recent scams, security settings and current access controls with your children. Let them know why you are putting the parental controls in place and how to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals. Consistent communication keeps the entire family accountable in maintaining security best practices to protect your information security, emotional security and physical security.