Back to school: How to talk to kids about online safety
Children are getting back to school, and that means more time spent on the internet. But that also brings an increase in online threats. That’s why parents should talk to their kids more about internet safety — but not every parent knows how. “The internet is a great place where kids can learn many things, but their curiosity can lead to dangers, too. That’s why parents should educate their children more about internet safety. And by doing so, not only kids will learn something new about security online. Parents will learn a lot about their children as well,” explained Daniel Markuson, NordVPN’s digital privacy expert.
Daniel Markuson from NordVPN provides a list of tips to help parents learn more about being safe on the internet.
12 ways you can teach your children about online privacy
1. Set an example and become digital-literate yourself. Show how you communicate and stay safe online but try not to push your opinion. Also, kids love when you know what’s up and you can discuss that popular social media platform together.
2. Start talking to your kid early and do it often. They must know they are always welcome to come to you in case of any worries or doubts. Ask your children what they do on the internet and share your own stories.
3. Talk to them about cyberbullying. Show how to block unwanted people or report their inappropriate actions online. But most of all, help them understand they are not alone.
4. Talk about social media and messaging. Discuss what your child should and should not share on social media platforms. They must understand that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. Nothing is ever 100% private, and that can affect your child’s image.
5. Explain why privacy matters, especially when talking to strangers. Talk about what kind of information is shareable online. Predators can use their address, school location, parents’ jobs, and other info against them.
6. Create strong passwords together. Advise your child to choose strong passwords, different for each account. It might be challenging to come up with and memorize a vast number of logins. That's why we recommend using a password managing app, like NordPass.
7. Manage privacy settings. Most social media or messaging services allow their users to manage their privacy settings. Sit down with your kid and adjust those settings to make sure your kid’s profile is as safe and private as possible.
8. Explain why free public WiFi is dangerous. Everybody loves free WiFi, and children are not an exception. But public places may have unsecured Wi-Fi networks, which may be monitored by third parties. To avoid this threat, you can install a VPN service, such as NordVPN, on your child’s device to encrypt their online communication data.
9. Talk about ads and online offers. Nothing is ever for free. Advise your child to be careful about deals that may look too good to be true. Ask them to show you everything they are planning to buy or redeem. Some offers may be scams designed to extract private information.
10. Install games and apps together. Make sure you download all games and apps from secure sources. Also, check that both the app and its provider are reputable. Fake pop-ups often prompt kids to install various applications for free. But that may result in malware infecting the device or the whole home network.
11. Discuss viral news or visuals — some of these might turn out to be fake. In the future, it will get harder to tell fabrications from reality. Talk about source- and fact-checking, trustworthy websites, and internet personas.
12. Use safety solutions. First of all, make sure that the search engine your kids use has a search filtering option enabled. Get a VPN, like NordVPN, for your home computer or set up a VPN on your router - it will protect all devices within your home network. VPN keeps your private information safe from hackers and cyber-criminals. Finally, update your antivirus regularly as your child might download an infected file.