5 Tips for Teaching Kids the Cybersecurity Basics
Cybersecurity Basics. In the late 90s and early 2000s, I was able to learn how to balance a checkbook and write cursive script. My Z and Alpha generation compatriots haven’t learned how to host dinner parties in a home economics class. And no one born after 1998, for example, knows how scary it is to approach a spinning circular saw in a shop class. Although the public school curriculum has changed over the years in the United States, it must change quickly to keep everyone safe in this digital age.
Cybersecurity educators needed
Cybersecurity education is not being taught in a wide range of schools. More than half of teachers and school officials surveyed said that their schools didn’t offer cybersecurity education. (Opens in new window). Cyber.org, a K-12 cyber education platform, conducted the survey. It also revealed that only 37% of elementary and middle schools had cybersecurity education in their curriculums. This is unacceptable considering that many children use online devices as early as five years of age (Opens in new window).
While kids may be quick to adopt connected tech, that doesn’t mean that they are able to use it safely and securely without the guidance of adults. It’s obvious that online security is a growing concern.
Beyond the Control Software
SecurityWatch has previously discussed the advantages and disadvantages of parental control software for keeping kids safe online. The best parental control software will prevent your child from visiting websites that contain adult content. The parental control software can’t teach children how to avoid being scammed by people chatting with them on Discord servers, or how to spot and avoid common Phishing attempts via email or chat.
Some parental control software can detect heated social media conversations. However, no software I’ve seen can identify online scammers trying to bilk money or credit card numbers from children via in-game chat systems. Parents must take control of the situation and teach their children cybersecurity skills before schools can start to teach them how to safely live online.
Cybersecurity education at home
Many parents aren’t sure where to start when it comes to teaching their children how to stay safe online. Online security is not difficult to grasp if you don’t know much about the jargon and have a computer science degree. These are the five steps that will help you create a home security curriculum.
- You can use the internet to search for cybersecurity resources. SecurityWatch will be helpful every week, but you can also find many online cybersecurity courses and ebooks for parents. Cyber.org is a great place to start your education journey. Cyber.org offers many courses and activities for educators and parents who want to teach cybersecurity and help children.
- Your data should be kept private. Do you not want your children to reveal their private lives online? Adults should also be cautious about sharing too much online. Scammers could use the information that you and your children share online via chat messages or social media profiles to steal your identity. You can be a role model for your children by teaching them how to protect their personal information online.
- Help your children create their vault by introducing them to a password manager. Password managers make it easy to forget long strings of characters and keep your online accounts secure. You can invest in a Premium or Family password management system and let your children maintain their logins. If the master password is forgotten, the child could be locked out of their password manager. I recommend LastPass as a passwordless login option. Your child can access their password vault by going passwordless using a mobile authentication or biometric methods, such as a fingerprint scan or face scan.
- Monitor engagement on social platforms. Children often use the internet to stream, play games, or social media. You can often spot a possible online scam or inappropriate chatter by simply watching your child’s internet activity. Norton Family, a parental control software that tracks your child’s online activities throughout the day can provide detailed information. It even includes links to YouTube videos. You may want to place your child’s computer and other online devices in a public space in the house if they are young. This will allow them to talk to you about any inappropriate online behavior.
- Online security is a household responsibility. Establish house rules and dialogue with your children about them when you give them their first internet-connected device. Here are five suggested starter rules:
- Online accounts should not be kept with credit cards or other sensitive information.
- All online login information can be stored in a password manager.
- Make sure the antivirus software is running in the background.
- Avoid downloading apps from other sources than Google Play and Apple’s App store.
- Be cautious when clicking on links from people you do not know.
It will help if you read our previous article on delete history from Netflix.
One thought on “5 Tips for Teaching Kids the Cybersecurity Basics”