Tips from our experts on How to protect your Kids online from Predators, Cyber Bullies, Hackers, harmful Malware and more
As parents, your sole life mission is to protect your children from harm, no matter what. But how can you watch your kids 24/7 in this digital age of screens? With the increasing presence of mobile phones and computers commonly glued to the hands of children and adults alike, educating and practicing safe online habits is becoming a vital part of everyday living. When it comes to protecting kids online, Alpha Group Investigations cyber experts recommend a combination of awareness, helpful software and practicing safe browsing habits.
Top Tips on How to Keep Kids Safe Online:
Install antivirus and anti-malware programs together with an Internet security suite, complete with antispyware and firewall protection, on all devices with a WiFi connection.
Use Two Factor authentication, where available. This is a method of confirming the user identity with a combination of two different components like a pin number and a password. Passwords for a home network should be different and diverse, changed regularly to keep it secure.
Remind your children Never share passwords with friends. If they believe they did on accident, make sure they change the password immediately.
Teach your children to Think Before They Link. Practicing good internet habits, like taking the time to reach out to the friend who may or may not have sent them the suspicious email before clicking on the URL, is one good method to building safer browsing practices. Also, add parental control settings to all family cell phones, gaming consoles, tablets and computers
Equip all devices (phones, iPads etc) with unique passwords. The most harm can be done if a hacker gains access to a social network or email account, making it easy to trick friends, reset your passwords or worse.
Know your kids passwords for all online accounts and cell phones. This is a life-saving step that could help locate your child in the event of an abduction or missing investigation.
Communicate with your children about the importance of reporting an online accident, such as falling victim to a phishing email or they download a virus. Your children need to know they can talk to you and that it’s not their fault… These things happen to adults on a daily basis. Most young tweens and teenagers are tech savvy enough to know when a virus has been uploaded to their computer… however, they are equally uncomfortable admitting it to mom or dad.
Always log off computers. As a good method of practice, make a post it sign next to all family computers that simply states “Did You Remember to Logout?”
Sadly, cyber bullies are everywhere. In fact 1 in 3 teens will fall victim to a cyber bully attack. Teach your children to report these posts, whether it was directed at your child or something they read on a friends social network. It is as equally important to instruct your children, not to respond to the attack to avoid being labeled as a cyberbully too. Compile a copy of all the harmful messages and then report it to the school, the website or social network where it was posted. Reports to the police should follow if the message includes any threats.
Set up your children’s social network security and privacy settings together to protect them and to limit who can access profiles or posts. For example, Facebook settings should be set to only allow “Friends” to see posts, photos, videos etc. Only allow friend requests from “Friends of Friends”. Set inbox filters to Strict. Only allow “Friends” to have access to email or phone number information. Do not allow for search engines to link to your child’s timeline.
The last tip may seem like an invasion of privacy to some. Online predators are gaining access to children through gaming consoles, virtual reality and other online games or chat rooms. You can protect your children by routinely monitoring their computer and cell phone activity. Compare text message activity with billing cycles to check for missing text correspondence. Restrict video game access to a time when you are home, to keep an eye out for suspicious chat room discussion and check the browsing history on all computers regularly.