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Are your teens safe online? Here’s how to ensure cyber security for them

By HT School Web Desk,

As a parent, help your kid stay secured on the internet with these five strategies.

Make sure that all the devices your youngster uses are password-protected.

Starting from education to entertainment, youngsters these days are dependent on the internet to a large extent.  However, the digital world may not always be a safe zone for them. Exposure to the internet makes kids (adults too!) vulnerable to various cyber threats and bullying too. Simply put, cyber threat refers to the malicious act of stealing and damaging important data. Most prominent examples of this digital malady include virus infiltration of mobile and computer and hacking of email, social media and internet banking accounts among others. The sources of these cyber threats could be anybody from terrorists and hackers to spies and organised crime groups. As a parent, you need to ensure your children’s digital safety. Help them stay secured on the internet with these five strategies.   

Talk to your child about online dangers 
This is the first step towards ensuring your child’s cyber security. These are the online dangers they should know about: Online frauds and scams, sexual predators, dangerous websites and malware. While talking to your teen on these, pay attention to her queries and concerns too. A frank discussion will not only give her clarity about internet safety but also make her feel comfortable talking to you about an uneasy online encounter that she may have later.  

Set rules for internet safety 
When your child starts using internet it is very important to set some norms at the onset. Encourage her to follow these golden rules for online safety: 

  • Do not share your name, address, photographs and phone number with anyone you meet online 
  • Do not respond to insulting or bullying messages. Also, do not be a bully 
  • Report inappropriate messages  

Monitor your child’s online activities 
Check the browser history of your child to find out which websites he visited. However, if the browser history is deleted, then it is likely that he visited sites he shouldn’t. Consider having a conversation with your youngster about this. Make sure that he feels comfortable opening up to you during the discussion.  

Filter out inappropriate content 
Turn on SafeSearch in Google Search and Images on the devices that your teenager uses. This will partially filter out inappropriate searches. Look for parental control software or apps to screen adult content. Apart from restricting usage, these tools can prevent your child from changing passwords without your consent. There re also apps that allow you to limit the time your child spends on a particular app each day. 

Use a secure WiFi 
Make sure that the WiFi you use has encryption. This will protect your data. Also, create a strong password to inhibit external access. Ask your child to share it only with those she knows well.  

Help your child set up password protection 
Make sure that all the devices your youngster uses are password-protected. Also, help her create strong passwords for all the online accounts she uses. Symbols, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters are the elements of a strong password. She shouldn’t use names or words in her passwords that others can easily guess.  

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