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5 Back to School Cyber Security Tips Parents Need to Know
The excitement of summertime is coming to an end and the back-to-school season is rapidly approaching. Now it’s time to ...
The excitement of summertime is coming to an end and the back-to-school season is rapidly approaching. Now it’s time to think about buying new school clothes, classroom supplies and maybe even new technology or gadgets for the students in your home. A 2020 study about education technology use in schools reported that 70% of students use digital learning tools outside of school for schoolwork at least a few days a week. Because technology plays a big role in education for students of all ages, teaching cyber security is more important than ever. Don’t let the anticipation of a new school year make you forget to ensure your children know how to be careful and stay safe when they’re online. Here are five back-to-school cyber security tips you need to know as a parent.
- Educate kids about online scams.
It’s never too early to start educating your children about online scams. Online scams are set up by cybercriminals on the internet. They can happen through email phishing, social media, malware and many other ways. The goal is to trick internet users into giving cybercriminals sensitive information. Phishing, one of the most common types of scams, is “the practice of tricking Internet users (as through the use of deceptive email messages or websites) into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used illicitly.” Most schools provide students with a school email account, so teaching kids about scams they might encounter will help keep them safe. Verywell Family, a website that provides recourses for parenting, has a great guide on how to teach kids about online scams.
- Watch for signs of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that uses electronic means. It most commonly affects teenagers on social media – but kids of all ages experience it online. A 2019 study conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center indicated that 37% of 12-17-year-old students feel they’ve been cyberbullied in their lifetime. Once you familiarize yourself with different tactics of cyberbullying, you'll need to know the signs your child is being cyberbullied. A few examples include emotional changes such as depression, withdrawal from friends and family, a decline in grades, a decrease in the use of devices and more. Create a relationship where your kids will feel comfortable letting you know what’s going on in their lives, and don’t be afraid to take action against cyberbullying.
- Use parental controls.
Using parental controls can help give you peace of mind when your children are on the internet. While no parental controls are perfect, they lessen the chances of your kids accessing or being exposed to inappropriate content. At All West, our go-to parental controls are a feature of Plume, a cloud-based system that provides you with full-strength, uninterrupted connectivity. With the Plume SuperPod and HomePass App system, you’re able to easily set and manage parental controls. Plume Control™ and Guard™ provide tools to safeguard children, such as parental controls that allow you to manage the type of content each device or profile can access. It also included content filtering based on age or rating restrictions and the ability to approve or block specific websites. It's the unfortunate truth that the more a child engages with technology, the more likely they are to come across explicit content. You can take these easy, but impactful steps to help protect your children from the dangers found on the internet.
- Always create and use strong passwords.
One simple way to make sure your accounts are cyber secure is using strong, unique passwords for your children’s accounts. Keep your kids safe by teaching them the importance of strong passwords. We suggest helping your kids create their passwords until their old enough to be trusted to do it on their own. Avoid using your family pets’ names, any birthdates or sibling names in a password. These are facts that can be easily guessed by hackers. Make sure your kids are using a different password for every account they have. Their social media login shouldn’t be the same as their school email or online gaming website. Complex passwords include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers. The stronger a password is, the more protected their accounts and information are.
- Monitor internet use.
Today, children spend more time online than ever before. Studies show that children spend at least 6 to 9 hours a day in front of a screen. There is always something to do online whether it's schoolwork, gaming, browsing social media or watching TV. You can help your kids establish healthy technology habits by monitoring their screen time and internet use. Make sure your children also get time to unplug and take breaks from technology. You can do this by setting age-appropriate time limits or establishing specific times technology can be used. Plume gives you the ability to easily set internet time-out for specific devices or family members. If you have Plume, they offer a helpful guide on how to give your devices a time-out. Too much screen time can cause problems when it comes to physical health, mental health and cognitive development. By monitoring internet use, your children will be able to have positive and healthy screen time.
As the summer comes to an end and kids head back to school, make it a priority to help you and your children become digitally aware this school year. By taking action to instill good technology habits and how to stay safe online, you can make the internet a safer environment for your children. Your connection is our commitment, and we want to help you and your family start the 2022-2023 school year off strong! Our customer care team is standing by to help answer your technology questions or help you upgrade your speed. Contact us at 866.255.9378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.