Children often find interesting friends and information on the Internet. Unfortunately, scam artists and hackers understand that children are easy marks. Kids spend hours on their phones and surfing online without thinking about security risks. The possible results of revealing information include compromising home and business security and kids’ personal safety. Back-to-school time is an ideal opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about cyber security.
Business Risks of Children’s Vulnerability
Business risks of unsecured passwords and computers at home include deleting files and programs, unintentionally visiting malicious websites and encountering phishing or social engineering schemes. Talking to your children about security should include the following:
• Explain how con artists can trick even adults into revealing information that could result in viruses or identity theft.
•Help children understand that child predators often pretend to be kids.
• Set boundaries appropriate to each child’s age, maturity and knowledge.
• Discuss the risks of sharing information with strangers, which includes seemingly innocuous details about family vacations, extracurricular plans or family outings.
• Partition computers into separate accounts so that kids have their own dedicated settings.
Cyber Security Awareness Begins at Home
Deficiencies in home computer security are serious threats to businesses, so your kids could disrupt your business at work. Possible threats include:
• Children disclosing information that can be used for spear phishing attacks.
• Viruses and malware on smartphones, laptops and tablets easily crossing security barriers at the office to infect company computers.
• Kids talking about sensitive or proprietary information while bragging about their parents.
• Harried parents failing to close websites or protect their Internet sessions when children fight or get injured, leaving their computers unprotected.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Cyber Security
Keeping communications open goes a long way to minimizing risks. Explain that anyone can make a mistake—even trained adults—so kids should never fear reprisals for discussing their problems. If your kids accidentally reveal information online or discover a questionable contact, they should bring the matter to your attention. Teach kids never to reveal personal information, including addresses and extracurricular activities. Other tips for your children include:
• Ignore messages from people whom you don’t know.
• Never post your phone number on the Internet.
• Don’t provide financial or personal information.
• Ask trusted adults before downloading anything from the Internet.
• Avoid clicking on links, programs and videos unless they come from a trusted source.
• Don’t play games that require personal information to open an account.
• Beware of free offers.
Kids are amazingly talented at ferreting out information about their parents’ passwords and Web behavior and getting around parental controls. Companies should remind their employees with children that most security risks happen because of internal carelessness. Companies might consider offering a customized training course for their employees to address the security vulnerabilities caused by children using company or home-based computers. We at Global Learning Systems offer excellent training services for all types of customized training needs.
Of course, you also need to set limits, use parental controls and supervise what your kids do online. Surf the Web with your kids to find out what they’re doing, and show them examples of questionable sites and messages. Explain that talking to a trusted adult is essential when problems occur. Awareness training begins with parents and extends throughout the family.
Children need rules, and you should regularly update security discussions to include topics like sexting, sending sexually explicit photos and discussing sexual issues with strangers. Internal threats are a major cause of security risks, and your children could be easy targets unless you educate them about the dangers lurking in cyberspace.