Cyber Threat Report: Protect Your Children’s Sensitive Information
“With fewer social gatherings, schools adopting distance learning, and many parents working from home, it comes as little surprise that parents have had to shift their kids’ activities to digital devices. However, all of this unsupervised time spent on devices leads to an influx of Cyber Safety risks that parents should be aware of, including device hacking, location tracking, and risk from online predators,” Kevin Roundy, Technical Director, NortonLifeLock.
As kids are spending more time online, it’s critical to protect their sensitive information.
According to the NortonLifeLock ‘Screen & Quarantine: Digital Parenting in a Pandemic Study’:
- Nearly 7 out of 10 parents (69%) said that their child’s screen time has heightened during the pandemic, with around 3 in 5 feeling they have no choice but to allow it (60%); Parents accept certain risks to their child’s online safety to keep them entertained and occupied (57%).
- Nearly 2 in 3 parents (63%) have indicated that they have lowered their standards for appropriate screen time because of the pandemic.
- As screen time skyrockets and socialization moves online, parents are inevitably concerned about their child being exposed to cyberbullying (61%), especially those of middle school aged children (11-13 years) (69%).
- Most parents (60%) are concerned they don’t have enough time to keep track of what their child is doing online, particularly parents who are employed (64% vs. 49% of those who are not employed).
- Parents who are employed (71%) are more likely than those who are not (58%) to say unsupervised screen time has increased.
With this increased online time, it’s imperative that parents take every precaution to keep their child and sensitive information safe. Here are some best practices:
- Enroll in identity theft protection for you and your child. Although your child won’t have a credit history, it’s important to monitor their credit for identity theft. You can also freeze their credit reports so criminals can’t open accounts in their name.
- Use a proactive antivirus software on any device that they use.
- Create new log-in accounts for your child. Do not let them use your accounts. It may be inconvenient to set up new accounts, but it prevents hackers from gaining access to your sensitive information.
- If you’re using a default password for your router, change it. While these default passwords may seem complex, they may not be unique to just you.
- Turn off devices when they aren’t in use in order to eliminate the risk of being hacked.
- Educate your children about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online. Key safety rules should include:
- Do not use an easy password, and definitely don’t include your name in the password
- Do not install any apps without permission
- Do not share your password with anyone (except your parents)
- Only add people that you know as friends or followers on social media
- Keep all of your social media profiles private
- Never post any personal or sensitive information on social media, including your address, phone number, or email
- Never upload pictures of other people without their permission
To ensure a safe online environment, continue to educate and communicate with your child about their online safety and responsibilities. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they’ll be to alert you to suspicious activity and concerns.
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