School is back in session, which means children are spending more time online. Whether your student is returning to campus or continuing virtual learning this fall, it’s a good time for an online safety checkup. A great place to start is an internet safety talk with your kids. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Secure Your Student’s Online Privacy
It’s not surprising that tech devices, web browsers and websites are keeping close tabs on internet activity. If you’d prefer your child’s every move online not be tracked, consider an alternative browser such as Brave or a search engine like DuckDuckGo that offer the ability to search safely and privately.
- Monitor and Manage Your Child’s Internet Usage
When I was a teen, my parents discouraged me from driving to the seedier parts of town. Today, parents feel the same way about kids traveling to the dark parts of the information superhighway. Thankfully, tools exist to monitor online activity and keep children safe. Parental control software such as Qustodio, Net Nanny and Bark offers peace of mind with features to supervise devices, filter content and limit screen time.
- Keep Track of Passwords
These are BAD ways to save passwords:
- Writing them on a piece paper and keeping them in a “safe” place
- Saving them in a “secret” document or spreadsheet file named PASSWORDS
- Storing them under a fake email contact
The above techniques are well-known and can be easily exploited by someone looking to break into your accounts. Luckily, secure password managers LastPass, Dashlane and Keeper make it easy to store passwords across devices. Look for a service with a family option to keep everyone’s information secure.
- Utilize Two-Factor Authentication Whenever Possible
It’s no longer safe to assume that a password alone is secure enough to protect personal information saved online. Two-factor authentication requires a login by password and a secondary validation such as a code provided via text or email, face ID or PIN. Try Twilio’s Authy app to enable this added level of security on your most-used sites.
- Look Out for Phishing
With schools doing their best to communicate plans for virtual learning, teachers, parents and students will be bombarded with emails this semester. Phishing scams will also be on the rise as hackers look to take advantage of this unique moment in time. Before clicking links or responding with personal information, verify the sender and make sure what they’re requesting seems reasonable.
More Internet Safety Resources for Parents:
- Savvy Cyber Kids
- A Parent’s Guide to App Permissions: Keeping the Kids Safe and Secure
- Parents Explain Online Privacy
- Common Sense Media
David Coull, Senior Systems Administrator