Cybersecurity Lessons for Kids
Guest Post By: John Ocampos
Raising kids these days is so much different from raising kids from even just a decade ago. The dangers that lurk around our children have multiplied exponentially. Those dangers have unfortunately followed them all the way to the Internet. Predators try their hardest to get into the sites our kids go to, to troll them, or worse, connect with them. Kids see the Internet as a big and dreamy amusement park, but we need to let them know that this amusement park can turn into a horror house too, just like that.
If predators lurk for unsupervised children in physical places because they are vulnerable, the same goes for the Internet. If you will not even dare let your kids out of the house anymore unsupervised, why do you let them roam around the big, strange digital world without your guidance? It is time for both parents and children to be as vigilant as can be in avoiding the risks of the Internet.
Here are seven of the best important life lessons you can teach your children on cybersecurity:
1. The Internet is like a BIG NEIGHBOURHOOD. Not All Places in It Are Safe
This neighborhood is big. It can fit 4.54 billion people, and still, there is so much room for more. Not every place in this neighborhood is safe, though. Some parts are. But there are some shady areas of the neighborhood to avoid.
The parts of the neighborhood that are safe are bright, friendly, clean, and have nothing to hide. You know it’s a secure page because it does not make you feel scared, or ashamed, and definitely will never make you think you have to hide anything from dad and mum. These safe places actually make you want to show content to your parents or friends. The material made you feel good, laugh, or taught you something interesting and useful.
The places that are not safe on the Internet usually “smell” like trouble. It has content on it that you don’t understand, the pictures or videos make you cringe or scared, and you also feel so uncomfortable just looking at them. These parts in the Internet neighborhood have big people behind them that are too unsafe to even talk to. The moment you find yourself on a website like this, run out of it right away and tell your parents or guardian, so they can come and protect you.
2. Never Roam the Internet Neighborhood Without an Adult
Never browse on the Internet by yourself. You always need to ask permission from dad or mum and let them know precisely what you want to do, so they can pick the secure pages for you to look at.
Your parents might have to set your device to forget the wifi password daily, but it’s okay. Don’t fret because you can always ask permission when you need to come back to the Internet neighbourhood.
Video Source: Commonsense Education © 2019
3. Not All Digital Internet Neighbors Are Friendly and To Be Trusted
Not all social interactions, through talking or messaging people in these communities, are safe. It’s okay if you can only play your devices in the kitchen or living room and never in your bedroom. These dishonest people on the Internet have studied how to trick young kids into behaving in a certain way. They can make kids reveal addresses, take compromising selfies to send to them, or even tell them secrets they shouldn’t know. Some of them are just plain bullies that steal kids’ joy by threats and insults.
Having dad or mum by your side as you browse the internet neighborhood scares the wrong people off, so they’d leave you alone.
4. Not All the Information on the Internet is Good.
Sadly, a lot of children are continually connecting with strangers on the Internet. Some even meet up for real, without their parents’ knowledge. Don’t copy what these kids do. Some of them have been through really terrible situations.
Some kids also did the following:
- 29% used the Internet in ways their parents would disagree with
- 21% talked to strangers through messaging apps
- 17% visited adult-content sites
- 11% searched for cheating tips on schoolwork
- 4% gambled or went to gambling sites
So, you see, when you are INSIDE your bedroom and go through the Internet on your own, it’s harder for dad and mum to protect you from cyber dangers they may not even be aware of. Here’s a short video that can teach you further too:
Video Source: Commonsense Education © 2019
5. Do Not Overshare.
Sharing is fun because it makes you feel good. Sharing your good experiences to others stamps those memories into your brain where it can be kept for a long time. It helps you learn, keep others informed, and stay connected. But it is NOT at all good to overshare. Common Sense Education shares the dangers of oversharing on the Internet:
Video Source: Common Sense Education © 2019
6. Let Your Parents or Guardian Know What’s Your Password.
Think of it as asking your parents or guardian to hide a spare key to all your accounts. If you lose your key, they have a spare. If they have a key, they can also rush to your side to get you out of unsafe parts of the neighborhood, or maybe away from people who might mean you harm.
For parents, inform your kids too, when you’re checking their accounts. Go over the accounts together, so they don’t feel you are invading their space. Create a unique and strong password that has meaning for the family so your child can also remember. For minors, no private passwords while you are young, so parents can still check up on you and your activities on the Internet and your gadgets.
7. Alert Your Parents When Something Feels Wrong.
When you run into people on the Internet asking you to do or say unusual things, alert your parents right away. Never hide from them when somebody made you feel threatened, embarrassed, bullied, or afraid. Be suspicious right away when people ask you for personal information unnecessarily. Do not, under all circumstances, meet up with anyone you got to know from the Internet. Stay safe in real life and on the Internet.
Conclusion: Stay Within the Safe Places of Your Internet Neighborhood
If adults battle with poor content and cybersecurity attacks often, how much more unsafe are it for kids? Your parents are your first level of defense. Listen to them and follow their guidelines because they are just keeping you safe on the good side of the Internet. For parents, make use of the best cybersecurity tools safeguarding your family from potential cyber threats. We live in a different world with different challenges and risks, so the best defense is really prevention and vigilance in keeping your family safe.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.