Let’s #StopCyberbullying today and every day is our motto this month, as we attempt to bring the digital community together to promote a safer and better internet for all. As kids across the world ease into summer vacation mode and bury their noses in their devices, we propose a deep dive into ways you can teach your kids about their privacy and the importance of personal data to help them overcome security risks online.
Kids’ privacy, security and digital well-being are essential in an era where staying offline is no longer an option. Due to the prevalence of social media and parents’ oversharing of photos, it’s believed that about 80% of children in the UK have an online presence by the age of two, according to a report.
As young children become digital citizens and are familiarized with the intricacies of owning a digital profile, concerns about them suffering harm online increase dramatically.
We already know that children share a great deal of information on social media and other platforms, bypassing age requirements (minimum 13 or older). They use their real names and post photos wearing school uniforms, leaving their profiles accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
What most kids, especially teenagers, don’t realize is that oversharing or careless exposure of information can impact their future. Their digital profiles serve as an extension of themselves and can set back their college applications, careers and financial stability.
Cybercrooks often target personal data of kids to commit identity crimes that go undetected for months, if not years. Using a child’s Social Security number to open credit card accounts will bring a low credit score and debt that could derail their plans in adulthood.
Additionally, poor judgment and bad online behavior can impact their lives offline, with more and more educational institutions and employers looking at profiles of potential candidates before making a decision.
Ensuring your kids’ safety in the real and digital world is a full-time job. Here’s a handy guide that will help you and your child take control over their privacy, personal data and online reputation:
- Use strict privacy settings on all apps and websites your kids use – by controlling who can see what they post or send friend requests, you limit the chances of malicious individuals targeting them
- Depending on their age, consider supervising them whenever they download applications or sign up on new platforms. Check whether the app asks permission to access your child’s contacts and photos. If the app’s functionality does not need this information, avoid installing it
- Talk about good password hygiene – make sure your child uses unique passwords for all online accounts and enables two-factor authentication to protect against unauthorized access from cybercriminals and other digital miscreants
- Make sure your child does not overshare information on digital platforms, including their real name, the name of their school, home address, phone numbers, credit card information, Social Security numbers or any sensitive media files
- Teach kids about phishing and other social engineering tactics, making sure they never click on links or attachments in emails, texts or instant messages, especially if they are unsolicited or come from strangers
- Enforce the stranger danger rule with your kids – digital threats targeting children are not limited to phishing and malware. Online predators often pose as kids to trick young internet users into revealing sensitive information or meeting them in the real world
- Promote good digital behavior to your child and teach them to never respond to mean comments, threats or other bad conduct online
If you need help keeping all your family members protected, take a look at our all-in-one plans that can save you time and energy when dealing with e-threats. On top of complete malware protection, Bitdefender solutions come with Parental control features that can help children self-regulate their online behavior and protect them from harm.
In support of our #StopCyberbullying campaign and internet safety, we’ve created a dedicated presentation and guide to help parents, teachers and caretakers tackle bullying and privacy with their kids.
Stay tuned for more child-focused digital wellbeing materials on our blog.