From the minute children are born, parents’ top priority is to keep their kids safe.
Now more than ever, it is important to teach kids about cybersecurity at a young age so that they can develop good habits that will protect them online.
By utilizing the following tips, kids can help keep themselves safe from online predators, malware, and other threats. Please share these cyber habits with your own K-12 kids (or if you’re a teacher, share with your students):
- Never share your personal information online. This includes your name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Be careful about what you click on. Don’t click on links in emails or on websites that you don’t trust.
- Use strong passwords. Your passwords should be at least 8 characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Keep your software up-to-date. Software updates often include security patches that can help protect you from malware and other online threats.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Phishing scams are emails or websites that try to trick you into giving away your personal information.
- Talk to your parents or another trusted adult about online safety. They can help you learn more about cybersecurity and stay safe online.
- Do not download a new app without adult permission. With more tablets, phones, and devices than ever before, kids think anything shiny looks fun. Do not allow automatic downloads on any device. Bad actors use common names of other apps in a creative naming method to lure kids into downloads. Use parental controls to allow kids to request apps, and then review them yourself.
Recent cyber breach affects both students and school districts
The biggest breach of K-12 student data in United States history occurred in 2022.
Personal data for approximately 820,000 current and former public school students in New York City was compromised in the hack of a popular online attendance system.
Media outlets started digging into the company Illuminate Education, and district after district started notifying its parents and students that they were also affected. Thousands of schools across the country use the same platform, and the number of people affected is staggering. Read the full list here of all K-12 schools known to be impacted.
What should college students do to stay safe online?
For college students, the filters, firewalls, and security of your previous school district are no longer in place when you go away to school in the fall.
- Be aware of your privacy settings. Make sure you understand how your data is being collected and used, and adjust your settings accordingly.
- Be careful about what you share online. Remember that anything you post online can be seen by anyone, including potential employers and graduate schools.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly. This will help protect your accounts from being hacked.
- Be careful about clicking on links in emails or on websites. Phishing scams are common, so be sure to only click on links from trusted sources.
- Use a secure browser when you’re online. A secure browser will encrypt your traffic and protect your data.
- Back up your data regularly. This will help you recover your data if your computer is lost or stolen.
- Be aware of the risks of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a serious problem, and it’s important to know how to deal with it if you’re a victim.
- Take breaks from technology. It’s important to take breaks from technology and spend time in the real world.
While some of these tips and tricks seem obvious, it is better to overshare with kids than the opposite. You’ll always see us sharing the great work of the National Cybersecurity Alliance, and if you do online learning, here’s a great resource for the basics of cybersecurity in a learning environment .
By following these best practices, you can help protect yourself online and stay safe while using the internet. For more information or assistance, contact us for a consultation.