ESET Ireland reminds that with schools soon resuming their activities it’s time to take the necessary precautions relating to IT security for kids.
Sharing photos, videos, status updates, messages and other types of information are part of daily life for children and teenagers, and when they return to school their smartphone usage is only bound to increase. As such, parents need to be more attentive to ensure appropriate use of internet by their children, while teachers need to teach their pupils about healthy use of technology.
The internet is a vast source of information, much of which could contain offensive or even dangerous content.
Malicious code, phishing scams and malicious websites are just some of the IT threats out there in vast numbers on the internet.
A third challenge for parents and teachers relates to grooming, a process whereby an adult attempts to persuade a child to engage in sexual activities, by developing an emotional connection with the child and a sense of trust.
It is essential to educate children about ensuring privacy while online. Practices like sending messages or photos with nude or sexual content are increasingly common and can lead to various very risky situations.
Lastly, there is a real need to teach kids about using social networks responsibly, as these tend to be the platforms on which the majority of cyberbullying and harassment take place.
What does ESET Ireland recommend we do to look after them?
The first step for parents and teachers, keeping in mind the speed with which technology develops, is to equip themselves with the knowledge they need in order to educate kids appropriately.
Once they are aware of the current risks and threats, they can face the challenges by engaging in the following good practices in IT security :
- The most important point is to create a space in which to talk about threats and habits online. To do this, parents and teachers need to understand the threats and explain to children in what ways they could be in danger.
- We also have to remember that we are responsible for what we upload to the internet and that the moment we post a photo or video, we lose control of the material and have no way of knowing how it might be used.
- We have to be careful with the types of information we post online. Details like our home address and telephone numbers should not be shared on social networks.
- The internet makes it easier for people to be anonymous, so we can’t know with absolute certainty who is on the other side of the social network, unless it’s someone we know in real life. For these reasons, we have to be very careful with messages from people we don’t know who try to contact us via social networks.
- Have a security solution including an antivirus software, social network monitoring and a firewall for all your equipment. It’s important to emphasise that desktop computers are not the only equipment that needs to be protected, as devices like smartphones and tablets also can be targets for attack.
While our young ones are the ones actually going back to school, parents and teachers are also going to have to make the grade in certain subjects over the course of this new semester. Being aware of the full extent of technology’s reach and the risks that come with using it badly are the first steps in ensuring that children and teenagers can enjoy the benefits of technology in safe manner.