Cyber Security 101: Tips On Teaching Your Children About Being Safe Online While Homeschooling [Guest Post]
Nowadays, schools and teachers require students to do homework online. Additionally, the internet has become the primary method for children to study for projects, tests, and assignments. Unfortunately, that does not mean that it is a completely safe way for children to learn. In fact, the Internet poses many potential problems for a child’s safety when studying online.
If your child uses the internet to study, then check out the following tips to teach them how to be safe when studying online:
Before They Go Online
As the parent, it is up to you to safeguard the computer as best as possible before your children go online. If you have not already, start implementing some of these today:
- Install and keep up-to-date an anti-malware program.
- Make sure your WiFi connection is secured.
If necessary, restrict your child’s internet browsing by limiting sites they can visit.
Create a restricted account for kids to use the computer. This will limit what they can access on your computer.
Make sure all of your account passwords are safe and log out of all accounts.
The Most Important Tip
All of these tips are important, but the one that is at the top of the list is making sure that your kids do not give out any of their personal information. Teach them not to trust people they just met online. Tell them not to post or share any personal details like:
- Full name
Social media accounts
No nude or provocative photos
Do not share any passwords
With that being said, reinforce to them that it is not safe to meet up with anyone that they just met online.
Get Their Passwords
Just because your kid might be getting older, does not mean they should have their own personal accounts without providing you their passwords. As a parent, it is important that you have access to this information, but do not become controlling. Use it only as a way to monitor what they are doing on occasion or if you suspect inappropriate behavior.
Avoid Suspicious or Inappropriate Sites
If you have not already restricted your child’s web browsing, make sure you teach them not to visit sites that are suspicious or contain graphic content like violence and pornography. Tell them to stick to sites that are specifically related to the content that they are studying. A great way to ensure that they follow this rule is by telling them that you will check the web browsing history to see which sites they visited. And, actually, follow through with this.
Don’t Click On Pop-Ups
Avoid clicking on any pop-ups as these can lead to potential issues with malware. Additionally, if they visit a site that has an abundance of pop-ups, tell them to leave the site immediately as this could also open the door to potential malware problems.
No Unsupervised Purchases
Make sure your kids know not to click on advertisements or try to purchase things online without your supervision. Some ads can be malware disguised or lead to suspicious websites. Additionally, some sites may use ads to steal personal information like credit card details.
Don’t Download or Open Attachments
Email attachments are notorious for containing malware. A good rule of thumb is to never open anything that you do not know where or who it came from. If your child does have a habit of downloading things that they should not then install a software program that restricts various files and requires the Administrator (parent account) to open the file or install software.
Get a List of Recommended Schoolwork Sites
Since schools and teachers are making the internet more inclusive in studying or doing schoolwork, they will most likely provide a list of sites that are being used by the school. This list will not only provide resources for your kid’s schoolwork, but it can also recommend some other safe and protected sites that they may use for studying.
Unsafe or Creeped Out
Teach your child that if they feel unsafe or creeped out by a website or an online interaction then they need to exit that cyber scenario and inform you about it. You can then best assess the situation and report anything if needed.
Public Hot Spots
Just about anywhere we go these days, there are free WiFi outlet spots or Hot Spots for people to connect to the internet. Make sure your kids know that they should not do anything personal while connected to these hot spots because they are unprotected and hackers can steal the personal information.
The Internet can be an amazing resource for studying or a fantastic source of entertainment and networking. Despite these positive aspects, never forget that there are potential dangers. Always stress safety over all else.