‘Safer Internet Day’ is a useful tool to remind us of the dangers of digital technology and to promote safe use of the internet by all members of the family. As working from home has become the norm for many British workers, at least some of the time, we have had to become a lot more aware of cyber security risks and threats.
While you may know not to click on a malicious link or download content from a dodgy website, does your 10 year old? Frankly, cyber crime is so sophisticated now that it is catching adults out everyday. Many people allow their children to access their personal computers, tablets or mobile phones at home and this seriously increases the security risks from hacking and phishing.
Even if your children use their own devices, these are linked to the family network and can easily be connected to each other. Have you considered what could happen if they access something they shouldn’t? If your child clicks on a malicious link and infects their device with a virus, and they then connect to your laptop, your device is likely to be infected, also. You then face the risk of infecting other devices within your personal and business network possibly damaging corporate data or causing files to be deleted, even locking others out of the system.
The best way to prevent this security risk is to educate your children on cyber security awareness and ensure you have protection in place to mitigate risks should they arise.
Make rules for online behaviour
Work with your children to draw up an agreement outlining what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour online. Help them to identify what is safe to download and what they should avoid.
Tell them they must alwasy ask for your opinion if they are not sure about anything that they want to download. Make it clear that you won’t be mad at them, you’ll be happy that they ask. Your agreement will give your children something to refer to, and, when they’ve been involved in drawing up an agreement, they are more likely to stick to it.
Reduce malware risks
Downloading content from pirate sites is illegal and classified as theft; it’s also incredibly dangerous for computer security. When content is downloaded, a whole host of malware could be downloaded with it. Advise children to avoid sites that don’t appear to be an official site.
Maintain an active interest in your children’s online presence. Have a chat with them to establish what they do online and find out which sites they usually go on. This needn’t be intrusive; just sit with them and offer guidance and support if you see anything that could be an issue.
Upgrade privacy settings
Ensure devices that are routinely used for work are automatically locked down if left unattended. If there is a particular device which you really don’t want your children to access, such as a work mobile or laptop, use fingerprint, face recognition or retina security.
For any device your children can access, work with the settings to make the device as safe as possible.
iOS devices allow you to restrict certain features, so you can stop your child from accessing any restricted apps. You can even create hidden folders of any restricted apps that you can’t delete.
For Android users, explore setting up a family link account which enables you to choose the apps your child has access to and keeps you informed about the apps they use most frequently. This also allows you to put restrictions on other areas, including safe search controls, app permissions, download and purchase controls, and password management.
Once you’re confident your child has a reasonable understanding of what is acceptable online, empower them with the knowledge to make their own stand. Teach them what actions you would like them to take if they are presented with difficult content, as well as how to flag or report inappropriate content. This will give them the confidence to deal with situations better and be more aware of their own online actions.
Keep the lines of communication open
As the digital space consistently grows and evolves, it’s crucial to continue the conversation on a regular basis with your children. Even with all the right settings in place, something can still slip through the net, whether that’s due to a missed app or accidentally leaving your desktop unlocked.
If something does go wrong, it’s incredibly important to have protection in place. Whether you’re self-employed or working for an organisation which wants to increase its cyber security, we can cover you against the risk of malware, phishing, data breaches and other forms of cybercrime.
* Safer Internet Day is held around the globe on 8 February every year in a bid to make the internet a safer and better place for everyone, especially children and young people. It is co-ordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and is celebrated in over a hundred countries.
To find out more about cyber insurance, contact Acer Insurance Services on 01959 528435 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to advise and to discuss a protection policy to protect your tech should the worse happen.