How parents can teach kids about cybersecurity

There’s so much that kids don’t know about the world, or are misled with false information.You know that, as your child’s first teacher, you have a lot of ground to cover to educate your kids about real-world issues. But it’s important not to forget one issue that impacts many parts of their lives: cybersecurity.

Kids who don’t know how to keep themselves cyber-secure are vulnerable to losing their information, their identity, and their money.

Here’s how you, as a parent, can have “the talk” with your kids about cybersecurity.

Let them know what’s at stake,

The first thing kids need to know about cybersecurity is that the threat is real. There are cybercriminals who want to steal from anyone, even a kid.
In general, staying cyber secure revolves around the following three areas: Threats to information, Threats to identity, Threats to finances. Many kids have never had to consider these threats before. By educating them on why cybersecurity matters, kids are more likely to take steps to protect themselves.

One of the biggest risks is social media, and kids – heavy users of social media – are particularly vulnerable if they don’t know what to watch out for.

  • Social engineering: Your kids may post pictures of their pets, their recent activities, or their friends. But are they revealing too much info? Cybercriminals can take that information and make up a scam that sounds amazing, urgent, or very personalized, based on what your kids have shared online (something like “click here to see the pics of my new puppy”, or “you’ve won a gift card to your favourite store, click here”, or “see what you missed by opening this link”.

Phishing: It’s common to see threats, scams and tricks online based on world events. And kids will be exposed to these, just like adults, often through phishing attempts. Phishers try to trick users into giving up personal information.

Here are some best practices that you can use today to keep your kids cyber-secure.

  • Create a strong passphrase: A passphrase, as opposed to a password, is the best way to keep accounts, like social media accounts, secure. Without a strong passphrase, cybercriminals may be able to easily guess a password and hack into an account. Passwords and passphrases should never use the same info your kids have posted online (like using a pet’s name as a password
  • Use multi-factor authentication: Passphrases are great, but it’s always better to use multiple ways to protect accounts. Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security so that if cybercriminals can guess passphrases or passwords, they still need another piece of information to get into the account.
  • Enable software updatesSoftware updates and patches aren’t just for getting new features. They also fix weaknesses or security vulnerabilities.
  • Think twice: If your kids are aware think twice before reacting with their emotions while they’re online, they will be safer and will be protecting their information, their identity and their money.

Mukesh Sharma


Rahul International School, CBSE

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