The internet is perhaps the most important invention in our lifetimes. Remember when you had to search through volumes of encyclopedias to research facts and find answers? Those days are long gone and now nearly any answer is just a few keystrokes away.
But with that connectiveness to people and information also comes the risk that you and your family are vulnerable to some of the bad actors on the internet. Trolls and cybercriminals looking to steal your money and cause harm.
64% of Americans have personally experienced a major data breach where their personal information was stolen by cybercriminals.
That’s more than half of the country! But stolen personal information isn’t the only thing to worry about online. Children are now growing up not knowing a world without a mobile device by their side. So how do you keep them safe while still ensuring they’re getting all the educational benefits they can from technology?
Our team at Clockwork Networks works with companies and families in the Castle Rock, CO area daily and part of what we do as a Managed Service Provider is teach internet security and data protection.
In this article, we’ve put together our best strategies to keep your family safe on the internet so you can enjoy the world wide web without staying awake at night with worry.
At What Age Are Children Going Online?
21% of children from kindergarten to 2nd grade have access to cell phones, according to GuardChild. A study of children and internet use found that children are typically using the internet from the age of three.
When the first smart phones came out over a decade ago, they were so expensive no one would think if buying one for a toddler. But in today’s world, it’s very common for young children to have their own smart phone or tablet. Parents worry their kids won’t be able to keep up with peers if they’re not exposed to technology, plus they help give a little sanity time to Mom and Dad.
Statistics You Need to Know About Kids and the Internet:
- 70% of kids from 7 to 18 years old have accidentally encountered porn on the internet
- 20% of teens have been the target of online predators
- Law enforcement estimates there are more than 50,000 sexual predators online at any one time
- 65% of 8-14 year-olds have been involved in cyber-bullying
Strategies for Keeping Your Family Safe on the Internet
All of us at Clockwork Networks have families, and we know how important it is to keep them safe while they’re on the internet. In our work as a Managed Service Provider for businesses in Castle Rock, we’ve implemented data security strategies that can also be used in your home.
Below are 6 tips our team has put together that you can use to keep your family safe online.
Make Your Passwords Impenetrable
Would you lock your front door with a rubber band? Of course not. When you’re online, your passwords are protecting everything from your home Wi-Fi to your bank accounts. Just as important to your teens are their social media accounts.
Teach your family the importance of password security, which means using different passwords for different logins and using a combination of characters, symbols, and numbers that should be at least 10 digits long.
Your passwords are a first line of defense to keep hackers from stealing your personal information or accessing your payment information on places like Apple and Amazon.
Be Careful What You Click or Download
That link for a free copy of Microsoft Office may look tempting, but it’s likely a trap to get you to download malware or spyware. Phishing emails disguised to trick you into downloading a dangerous file remain one of the main causes of data breaches.
Teach your family to be suspicious of strange emails and “sounds too good to be true” free website offers. One click can mean a malicious virus in your system that travels from one computer to another.
Get a Trustworthy Virus Protection Software
Keep everyone’s computers and data protected with a good anti-virus software and make sure it’s on everyone’s devices. You can avoid many of those tricky phishing emails and get warnings before visiting malicious websites, which gives you another added layer of protection.
Use a Parental Control Software on Children’s Devices
Don’t leave your children open to predators. While older children may think using a parental control software means you don’t trust them, it’s more about keeping them safe and not trusting the predators on the other side of the screen.
You can be open yet firm with children of all ages and ensure they can only visit sites you approve and that you have full access to see where they’re going online.
Use the Privacy Controls on Social Media Sites
You can share photos with friends and family on Facebook without allowing strangers to see them. Use the privacy settings on social media and set your children’s up too. Such as only allowing your “friends” to see your posts and disallowing any sharing of your photos.
These types of control can allow you to enjoy social media without inviting unwanted attention to yours or your family’s profiles.
Never Give Out Personal Information
Online predators are very sly. They will pose as someone your child’s age and slowly pull personal information from them with innocent seeming questions. Train your children to never give out personal information online (and this is good for adults to remember too!). That includes names of schools, cities, parks, even their pet’s name.
Need Some Cybersecurity Help in Castle Rock, Colorado?
If you need help with cybersecurity and internet safety, we will be more than happy to give you our expert advice. Call us today at 303-588-9019.