Technology is all around us. Smartphones, smart watches, cars, computers, refrigerators, and cameras have become an enormous part of our everyday lives. These introductions have challenged us to constantly adapt. We are living in (and raising families in) an evolving technological society.
As a parent, you have taught your kids not to talk to strangers. You have taught them to look both ways when they cross the street. But have you talked to them about how to be safe online?
In a recent webinar through the National Cybersecurity Alliance, The Tech Talk: Talking to Your Kids About Online Safety, LinkedIn Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer Kalinda Raina, Palo Alto Networks Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer Niall Browne, and National Cybersecurity Alliance Executive Director Lisa Plaggemier discuss ways to embrace technology while also being aware of possible scams and privacy issues.
What is online safety?
While cybersecurity protects networks, information, and devices from harm by third parties, cyber safety protects the people using such technologies through education and awareness. In other words, cyber safety, also known as online safety or e-safety, refers to the measures taken to promote safe online usage and to protect against potential harm, risks, and attacks.
Cyber safety is knowing and understanding the nature of potential threats and risks that one could encounter while engaging in an activity on the Internet. These risks include protecting and managing personal data, security and privacy threats, reputation management, and harmful or illegal content.
A cyber safety approach maximizes a user’s awareness of how their personal data and information can be used against them.
Why is online safety important?
Every time we connect to the internet—whether at home, at work, at school, or on our mobile devices—we expose ourselves to cyber criminals and put ourselves at risk for fraud, identity theft, privacy breaches, and/or harassment.
Today, parents are challenged with raising a generation where smartphones, tablets, computers, and virtual assistants are the norm and a part of everyday life. The recent pandemic has largely impacted a parent’s ability to limit their child’s access to technology as much of their learning, extracurricular activities and socialization is being done online.
These risks will always be present, but being aware of them and educating children and young adults about how to manage harmful situations, will ensure that they are best placed to practice online safety and benefit from technology, free from harm.
What can parents do to help their kids understand online privacy and how to protect themselves?
Since children are being exposed to technology at such an early age, it is important that parents and educators not only help children understand the opportunities that technology provides but also address concerns and initiate a conversation about online safety as early as possible.
The digital world is always changing and we ourselves are still learning to navigate it. So, how does a parent, or educator, introduce a child to the online world for them to utilize technology in a private, secure, and harm-free way?
- Here are some suggestions on how to approach the topic of online safety with a child:
- Start the Conversation EARLY — Address the topic of online safety with a child as soon as possible. Start by talking to your child about their idea of online privacy and then discussing what online privacy means and what it should look like.
- Edit Apps and Reduce Permissions — Go through each application you or your child might be using and make sure you are aware of the data it is gathering. From there, you can put parental controls in places such as enabling certain permissions or screen limits.
- Explain How You Are Using Technology — Children are observant, and they are likely watching you text, call, answer emails, read the news, and so much more on your smart phone. Talking to them about what you are doing and why can help them better understand what devices can be and should be used for.
- Be an Example — When using technology, make sure you are aware of the possible threats. Always communicate with your child about what you are posting, and even ask for their permission if it is of them. Doing so will instill proper online privacy and safety measures into their everyday life.
Our society is increasingly digital and interconnected. The best way to protect yourself and your children is to be cybersmart. In order to mitigate risk and harmful internet usage, don’t just teach your child about physical safety, educate them about online safety too.