Today, parents are bombarded with information on how to protect their families from threats online.
This is actually resulting in a phenomenon termed ‘security fatigue’. People get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of stuff we are told we must do to stay secure, that actually we get paralysed by the complexity of it all. As a result, parents end up having no protection at all.
Luckily, the reality is far more simple. At SimpleCyberLife.com we believe there are several key things to consider when it comes to developing a healthy, happy and safe technology connected family home.
1) Set the ground rules: establish a set of ground rules that the whole family can subscribe to can help everyone ‘buy-in’ to the responsible use of technology at home.
2) Social media privacy settings – social media is often the way cyber criminals gather important personal information which can then be used to attack us. We should all be reviewing our privacy settings for all social media sites on a regular basis, reviewing historic posts for sensitive information, only accepting friend requests from people you know in real life and remembering NOT to over-share.
3) Maintain an Open & Honest Relationship – easier said than done, but try as a parent to maintain and open and honest relationship with your children and the use of technology in the home.
– Parent-as-teacher – start an ongoing dialogue with your children around cyber and the risks it brings. Use some real world examples to bring the risks to life for them. Discuss news stories with them.
– Parent-as-confidant – one of the biggest risks children face is the feeling of feeling isolated – this is exactly what sexual predators have techniques to try and engineer. Try and position yourself as the person they can come to when things go wrong online.
– Parent-as-expert – it has been shown that kids have a short-sighted view of cyber risks as they interpret risk as a measure of how much something bothers them. Parents need to have an understanding of cyber security risks themselves in order to help their children bridge this gap.
– Parent-as-student – reverse the usual roles…ask your kids to teach you! Be inquisitive about the social media they use, how they keep their accounts secure and how they identify suspicious activity or communications. Don’t ask leading questions and be genuine in your questions and supportive in their responses.
4) Home wifi setup – our home WiFi is the primary way that we access the internet but it is surprising how insecure some WiFi routers come out of the box. To ensure the security of our WiFi router and help protect all of the family devices that connect to it, ensure you change the default password and set up automatic software updates.
5) Keep phones out of bedrooms – kids can end up squirrelling themselves away in their rooms, becoming more and more isolated as they endlessly scroll social media on their own. The solution? Buy a cheap Family Charging Station that can be placed on a hallway or corridor table. All family members can place their smartphones on charge before they go to their rooms, they are left outside and when they return to them in the morning they are all fully charged and ready to go!
6) Secure browsing – our internet browsers are the main portal through which we access the internet and you would be amazed at how insecure some standard browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox are. We need to either ensure we review the security settings of our chosen browser or we are using a secure browser like BRAVE.
7) Family & friends education – educating our loved ones is vital because cyber criminals know that kids can be the weak link and can often be their way ‘in’ to get access to the more sensitive data stored by parents. Education can help combat almost all of the cyber threats out there in some form or another, so the little time it takes to talk about cyber security is time well spent. For example, if everyone in the family knows how to spot a phishing email, this will drastically reduce the number of viruses making their ways onto family devices.
Of course, each family will have slightly different security needs – which is why to make it even less daunting – SimpleCyberLife.com have a short one-minute quiz for potential members to complete, to help them decipher what their internet safety priorities should be.
It’s important to feel supported in your endeavour to keep your family safe online, and simplecyberlife.com are the world’s first membership network designed to provide accessible resources and expert advice, all in one place. There’s also a community forum where you can pitch questions direct to internet safety experts and fellow parents. Join today – launch offer on now at simplecyberlife.com.