Cyber hygiene could best be summed up as the behavioral dos and don’ts of digital technology use. It matters for all sorts of reasons, from mental health to bullying, from practical safety to educational success. The use of digital technology and the internet is a fact of life for children now, at home — but increasingly in school as well.
There are fears that school computer systems are increasingly becoming the target of cybercriminals’ attacks.
With the above in mind and as school approaches, it would be wise for parents to have an ongoing conversation with their kids about cyber hygiene. Being both informal yet serious, consider running through the following talking points in a relaxed setting.
- Make sure all devices are up to date, with decent cybersecurity software installed. You may consider Trend Micro’s Antivirus+ product, or our FREE HouseCall scan tool. For mobile devices, only download apps from the App Store or Google Play.
- Ensure the kids are using strong passwords. Make sure they don’t share passwords or accounts with others. Their reputation or worse can come to harm if a classmate impersonates them or disrupts account access. This would also be a good time to enable two-factor authentication.
- Communicate! Ask your child what apps or platforms they use — for fun, but also for education. You’ll be entering your kid’s sphere: let them guide you too.
- Agreeing rules for device usage at home is a good idea, seeing as they will already have a lot of screen time during the day. Consider a ban on phones being used as alarm clocks — that way, there’s no reason for a device by the bed.
- Keep an eye out for cyberbullying. If your child is being bullied online, they may start to act withdrawn. Watch for behavioral cues like suddenly stopping device use, or changes in eating or sleeping.
- Use caution when it comes to public Wi-Fi, for example, studying in a café or library. Probably best to save downloads/uploads for a private network.
- Encourage children to censor their messages and posts so that they are not negative or abusive. They should avoid posting anything that counts as gossip and rumor.
- Teaching your child to stop and think about sharing pictures is central to cyber hygiene. They need to know that once it’s sent, there’s no going back.
- Secure all social media accounts. Teach your children to enable good privacy settings on all platforms they use: e.g., limiting viewing access to friends only.
- Make sure the kids know not to overshare — particularly personal details such as home and email addresses, or phone numbers.
* Culled From: news.trendmicro.com