The internet feels like a dangerous place with scams, hacks, malware, and cybercrimes. The pandemic has caused a massive change in our lives – especially in terms of work-life balance. With an unprecedented rise in online classes, the usage of the internet has increased significantly among kids and teens.
Today, kids have more information at their fingertips. As the practice is not going to change soon, parents should have a conversation with their kids about internet safety. The bad guys are becoming smarter and hence you need to take the necessary measures to ensure your family stays safe online.
By adopting a handful of best practices, you can reduce exposure to online threats. In this post, we have got the best online security practices and tips to stay safe while browsing online.
What is Internet Safety?
Internet safety, also known as online safety or cyber safety is used to describe the measures to stay safe online. This includes – practising safe browsing, using a secured internet connection, being careful about with whom you interact, and so on.
Staying safe online will prevent your family from being exposed to unwanted information, people, material, and risks that might harm your devices.
It is worth noting that certain cyber laws have been enacted to protect individual’s privacy. These laws prohibit children from providing excess personal information to play games online. Still, a lot of people break the laws – because of which they become primary victims of cybercrimes.
Tips to stay safe online
One of the biggest dangers of the internet is the ever-evolving cybercrimes. There are many online threats for families such as – cyberbullying, identity theft, phishing, online scams, malware, online predators and so on. Here are a few tips to get started –
1. Follow good hygiene
Well, online security starts with good hygiene and clean habits. You can improve your online hygiene by securing your home network. Almost every member of the family accesses the network through a PC, laptop, or smartphone.
A small vulnerability in the network will give a hacker access to all the devices connected across the network. The cybercriminal will be able to pull out all your details like a bank account, credit card, debit card, emails etc. Here are a few ways to secure your home network –
- Change the name of your home network or wi-fi
- Use a unique and strong password or passphrase
- Enable 2-step authentication or dual-authentication
- Turn off the name on network broadcasting
- Enable network encryption
- Update the router’s software regularly
- Use a trusted VPN to access the network
Above all, make sure that the devices connected with the home network are secured with the best antivirus program. If you have two or more devices at home, secure them with the Best Virus Protection for 3 devices.
2. Set up parental controls
Children often have access to multiple devices, and it is crucial to implement parental controls. They are enabled on most smartphones, computers, and gaming systems – and reduce the risk of your kids viewing inappropriate content.
Parental controls are the programs or device-enabled options that allow you to monitor your child’s activity on the internet. You can implement them within search engines, social sites, chat sites, video streaming websites and more. Here are a few ways to enable parental controls to ensure your child is safe online –
- If your child is using windows, you can set up a child account with ‘content restrictions’. You can toggle the ‘block inappropriate content’ and choose the age criteria under ‘allow games or apps rated for’. Similarly, you can block inappropriate websites from the browser.
- If your child is using Apple or Mac, you can “Enable the Parental Controls” from the content tab.
- You can set up parental control in Chrome, Safari or Firefox by turning on the safety feature on each browser.
- Google Search Engine also allows you to “Turn ON Safe Search” to prevent your child from accessing inappropriate content.
Many parents ignore using parental controls – as they think it will be difficult to setup. However, one can set up parental controls with ease and minimize the risks of cyber threats.
3. Social media privacy
It is not just enough to strengthen the network or rely upon technological controls. You need to train your family members to stay safe online by using real-life examples. Be observant of unusual behaviour in children, especially in teens.
Today, everyone in the family has a social media account – regardless of their age, gender, and profession. People started using social media to showcase their creativity, update every happening in our life, post pictures, live videos and many more.
Some of the common social media threats to watch out for are – clickjacking, fake giveaways, affiliate scams, fake follower or friends, phishing attempts with fake links etc. Here are some tips to stay safe on social media sites –
- Use a different password for social media accounts
- Setup security answers
- Be selective with friend requests
- Click the links with caution
- Be careful about what you share
- Protect your system by installing a trusted antivirus
- Remember to logout, when not active
Plenty of people are taking social media safety less seriously. It’s time to become familiar with the privacy policies of social media channels and customize the privacy settings to control who sees what.
Family members need to know about how much information should they share online. Most often, children and teens post their personal information online without knowing about the consequences.
Websites, social media accounts and smartphones have all the necessary settings in place to protect the online privacy of your family. Always keep them “Turned On” to ensure your home is cyber safe.
Thanks to the antivirus programs and cybersecurity tools that help you block certain websites, track the child’s location, manage their screen time, and backup the data and so on.
Install a comprehensive cybersecurity program that protects all your family members and their devices. If you have any suspicion that your system is infected or you are hacked, a good security suite will help resolve the problem.