Generation X is the luckiest generation as kids are exposed to digitization and technology right from a tender age. Kids that are brought up in a technological environment tend to be creative and innovative when it comes to modernity.
However, do you know that uncontrolled digital space for your children makes them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats? If older people or even CEOs get duped by hackers, what do you think about a 12-year old kid? You’ll agree with us that the internet can be a very dangerous hub for your children and must be safeguarded against it. Among the risks that children are exposed to when surfing the web include cyberbullying, cyber predators, phishing, mistaken malware, or even scam.
Research shows that hackers don’t need to have arsenal software or through IT knowledge for data exfiltration through children. Human bias in children can easily be exploited and manipulated, such that they end up giving sensitive information about their parents without seeing it as a big deal. Besides sharing confidential information such as bank account details or credit details, children can also be asked to post private conversations or images about their parents.
So, as a parent, how do you protect your kid’s online safety? Well, that can be achieved in ways which include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Surfing through an encrypted network
The best and surest way to ensure that your kid’s digital space is protected even if you aren’t around is getting a reliable encryption network for surfing. Surfing the internet from home through an unencrypted network leaves you exposed to other malicious third parties and hackers. Thereafter, hackers can exploit such a loophole to access location, IP address, and browser history of any internet operator in your home. Obviously, it is easy to differentiate when an adult is browsing from when a kid is browsing, especially if hackers root spyware.
To solve that, we recommend that you get a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your internet connection from home so that others online cannot see it that easily. A reliable VPN router can secure all of the devices your family has connected to Wi-Fi from home. That way, you’ll protect not only the children but also the whole family, especially if you have someone in the house who is fulfilling professional or career obligations remotely.
- Sensitize them openly
Another way of protecting your kid’s digital space is by talking to them openly about the internet, about what they see, and who they interact with. Many parents tend to ignore this thinking that their children are bright enough to differentiate something good and evil. The consequence is that children may become addicted to certain sites or even applications that make them more vulnerable. Talk to them openly and even insist on knowing their online friends.
- Enforce parental control
At times, even after sensitization, you have to enforce parental control, especially when the kid seems not to get your teachings. Children can act innocent during the day or when you are around and turn out to be something else once they are locked in their bedrooms. In that regard, you should have a “common area” policy where all gadgets are left before kids retire to their bedroom. You don’t have to be too hard on them as you can easily convince them to leave the gadgets behind for recharge.
- Be a Social Network Savvy
Research shows that generation X children tend to be sharper and well-informed about social media than their parents. That makes your work as a parent hard because you may not know what site your child is up to and how to keep them safe in such a network. For instance, if you don’t know anything about Instagram, you’ll never know when and how your kid can be vulnerable when in that network. We recommend that you learn more about social media safety, especially the emerging ones. You don’t need to worry about old social media networks like Facebook because they often protect their users. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bend the house laws on accessing such networks. Your kid’s safety begins with you!
- Know your children’s password
Lastly, you might also consider knowing your children’s password such that you can check on them regularly, even if you are not around. Hackers tend to exploit the vulnerability of children when parents are at work. Someone who wants to use the behavioral science of your kid will wait until you leave, and then he/she strikes. Having your kids’ password at any time gives you the right to check who they have frequently been communicating to, their browsing history, and their texts if in any way you feel something is up. This will also allow you to do a follow-up on what you’ve been teaching them and see if they’ve been practicing. For instance, if you locked them out of a specific network, having their password will help you know if they’ve tried to access the same from a different system.
Protecting your kids’ and entire family from cybersecurity threats should be a priority if you want to lead a stress-free life. Remember, children also grow and depict what that growing environment teaches them. You have to mold that environment for them.