As soon as children learn how to use mobile phones or tablet devices, they are exposed to the Internet. While it is often a great source of information and entertainment, the Internet has more than its fair share of faults. These days, cybercriminals, malware, phishing, and other cybercrimes are commonplace.
Because of this, parents should prioritise speaking to their children about their online safety. Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families published a few tips to protect your kids from cybercriminals:
1. Mobile apps
Children can easily learn how to use mobile apps as it only takes some swiping and tapping on the screen. With this ease, though, comes the risk of cybercriminals being able to infiltrate the device through fraudulent apps. To combat this, parents should set up the device to have a password before downloading an app.
Sticking to apps developed by verified companies, and doing a bit of research before downloading them also helps. In addition, one should not allow apps to access your data automatically – such as your location or contacts – if there is no reason to do so. Installing mobile apps that can scan and protect your device will make it harder for hackers to get in. You can check out some of them here.
2. Social networks
As your children get older, they will more likely be interested in the different types of social media – the cybercriminals’ sweet spot. Hackers usually pretend to be someone else, gaining your child’s trust, and then leading him or her to malicious websites online.
Talk to your children about being wary of these types of schemes, not clicking on suspicious links, and being vigilant all the time. If a friend of theirs suddenly exhibits strange online behaviour, they should reach out to that friend as there is a chance they have been hacked.
Teaching our children to think about what they see or how they act online will only help the overall safety of our families.
3. Online searches
Because kids are considerably curious, they will inevitably discover search engines and its benefits. On the flip side, cybercriminals make the most out of this, too. They pay attention to high Internet traffic areas and take advantage of it by making bogus websites and links related to trending topics – leading unsuspecting victims to click on malicious files that intrude the victims’ systems.
Parents should sit down and talk to their children about being aware of these types of websites or links. They must be able to teach their kids to spot fake websites or URLs before landing on them, and to stick to the first page of search engine results.
4. Ads and offers
Parents should also advise their children about falling for spoofed ads and offers online. Cybercriminals intercept professional and legitimate ads to use to their advantage, adding validity to their schemes. These fake ads can be seen on emails, direct messages, and texts; and they contain links that lead to carbon copies of legitimate websites that trick victims into giving away their personal data or downloading malicious content.
The old saying, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” applies to this situation. Let your children know the dangers of freebies, accepting gifts from strangers online, and other ads or offers that are too good to be true. Teaching our children to think about what they see or how they act online as early in their lives as possible will only help the overall safety of our families.