Trying to protect your family from the darker side of the internet and any potential online dangers in an increasingly digital world can fill a parent or carer with dread. In this article we will go through some proactive methods of ensuring online safety and reducing cyber threats.
The first line of defence against cybersecurity threats is to communicate clearly with your family members about the dangers posed in the online world, and to educate them on safe online practices and good internet etiquette. Even one informative dialogue with a family member can go a long way in bolstering digital security.
In order for this to be successful, you must first accept the onus to learn about cyber risks yourself as to efficiently transfer the knowledge to your entire family at a later stage. Also explaining the need for proactive safety measures, whether deemed “cool” or not can help articulate the fact it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of online safety.
Privacy And Parental Settings
Online search filters can be a powerful tool for parents in aiding digital safety. These parental controls recognise designated flagged words/phrases/images and can omit potentially harmful results from a web search conducted on a home network.
The configuration and dimensions of these filters can vary depending on service provider or software, but usually can be found and applied in a device’s search or security settings.
As a parent or guardian it is important to be familiar with the vast landscape of social media and its potential threats to your family. Here are some things to try or keep in mind when it comes to the often murky world of social media.
- It can prove wise to have social media accounts of your own to help you understand the appearance and functionality of the services.
- It is important to educate children or the younger members of your family about the dangers of social media - not everyone is who they appear to be, never agree to meet up with someone they don't know, the trials of cyberbullying, the perpetual nature of the sites, hazards of location services and not sharing any harmful personal details.
- Always offer to be a resource to immediately discuss any concern or worry a family member may have, instilling trust and a feeling of genuine care can help someone open up and relieve anxiety.
- Make family members aware of published and curated online guide books and expert resources regarding cyber safety.
- Install regular software updates on all mobile devices or computers with online accounts.
- Make sure your family members follow and adhere to age restriction guidelines, these are set in place for a reason.
Cyber Criminals And Scams
Another potential pitfall for internet users is the rise of scams or theft online. A multitude of nefarious cybersecurity risks including identity theft, phishing scams, malware and online dating or relationship scams can be disguised as authentic looking emails, links or innocent seeming friendly pop up messages.
It is vital that anything asking for personal information, online banking details or money, even if seemingly from a credible or verified source, be treated with caution, and legitimate protocols for these services should be learned and recognised.
Protecting The Elderly
As well as children, older people are particularly susceptible to falling victim to the online dangers of fraudulent activity.
The elderly should be taught how to navigate the digital world, what red flags to keep an eye out for and how to contact for help if something seems amiss.
Passwords For Internet Connected Devices
Any devices or technology must be equipped with strong or unique passwords to keep sensitive information private.
Strong passwords are not obvious or opaque, yet memorable to the creator, and should never be used for multiple accounts (a dream for hackers).
A strong password can be bolstered with multi factor authentication such as fingerprint or face recognition, adding an extra layer of security to online activities.
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