Tips for parents on teaching cybersecurity

Tips for parents on teaching cybersecurity

In today’s world, digitally connected families must think about safety and security both online and offline.

Since 2003, October has been recognized as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month to ensure that everyone stays safe and secure online. This year's theme is Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.

Every child is taught about basic safety and security, like not talking to strangers and looking both ways before crossing the street. In today's world, parents also must teach children how to stay safe online. Teaching young people easy-to-learn life lessons for online safety and privacy begins with parents leading the way.

Stop. Think. Connect. graphic

The first step is to teach children how to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. by taking safety measures, thinking about the consequences of your actions, and then connecting only when you have taken steps to safeguard yourself and your family when online.

Here are some basic tips for how parents can teach their children about cybersecurity:

  • Share with care. What you post can last a lifetime. Help your children understand that any information they share online can easily be copied and is almost impossible to take back. Teach them to consider who might see a post and how it might be perceived in the future.

  • Personal information is like money. Value it and protect it. Information about your kids, such as the games they like to play and what they search for online, has value—just like money. Talk to your kids about the value of their information and how to be selective with the information they provide to apps and websites. 

  • Post only about others what you would like to have them post about you. Remind children and family members about the golden rule and that it applies online as well. What they do online can positively or negatively affect other people.

  • Own your online presence. Start the conversation about the public nature of the internet early. Learn about and teach your kids how to use privacy and security settings on their favorite online games, apps, and platforms.

  • Remain positively engaged. Pay attention to and know the online environments your children use. The real world has good and bad neighborhoods, and the online world is no different. Help them to identify safe and trusted websites and apps. Encourage them to be cautious about clicking on, downloading, posting, and uploading content.

  • Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Keep up with new technology and ways to manage privacy. Visit staysafeonline.org or other trusted websites for the latest information about ways to stay safe online. Talk about what you discovered with your family members and engage them on a regular basis to share what they know about privacy.
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