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Safer Internet Day Feb 6 - expert comments

January 2024 by cyber security experts

As our families and children spend more and more time online, they are increasingly being exposed to a world parents may not have prepared them for. It’s vital that children start practicing how to be safe online, not just to protect themselves today, but because it sets them up to continue practicing good cybersecurity as they get older.

Although the internet will never be truly safe, there are proactive steps parents can and should take to protect their children’s online experience. Below are a few specific steps to help keep your child safe online:

• Install security software on devices your children use: Security software like antivirus and anti-malware can protect devices that kids use by preventing malware and other threats from impacting the internal hardware and systems. It can also add an extra layer of protection if your kids unknowingly click on something that contains a virus or other malware.
• Use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts: Passwords are your first line of defense when protecting your children’s online safety and privacy. When your child reuses the same password, or variations of the same password, they make themself vulnerable to cyberattacks. If one of these accounts were to become compromised, it places all other accounts that use the same password at risk of becoming compromised.
• Use a password manager: Password managers are tools that give you the ability to store, protect, share and manage passwords and passkeys for applications and online services. Look for a password manager that’s built with zero-trust and zero-knowledge security to ensure your is always protected.
• Use parental controls: Parental controls allow you to control what your kids are able to see when they’re using the internet and also allow you to control their privacy settings. If you want to find out how to set parental controls for your kids on their smartphones, tablets, social media, gaming consoles and more, check out this guide.

An open dialogue with kids goes a long way in helping to foster a safer and healthier future on the internet. In addition to these steps, it’s an important to take an active role kids online experience. For example, remind kids of a few basic protections: Never click on unknown links. Only open email attachments that you are expecting and come from a trusted source. Never respond to chat messages from people you don’t know. Never “friend” strangers. Never give out your personal information. Don’t bully others and talk to your parents if you think you are being bullied.

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