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7 Tips to Keep your Kids Cyber Smart

Julia Rapp

7 Tips to Keep your Kids Cyber Smart

According to a Center for Cyber Safety and Education survey, 40% of kids in grades 4-8 have connected or chatted online with a stranger. Of that 40%, 53% gave their phone number to a stranger and 30% texted a stranger from their phone. Those are scary numbers. Even phone numbers can be used to find out personally identifiable information (PII) about you and can put your identity at risk online. Kids need to understand what the risks are and how to protect their identities and valuable data. Digital Age Risks include a ubiquitous presence for children as well now.

It’s important to educate kids on Digital Age Risks before they interact with the internet and emphasize the importance of re-engaging with training and educational materials periodically as new Digital Age Risks emerge or kids gain access to different digital tools as they grow up. Here is some guidance from the Center for Internet Security (CIS):

  1. Start early.
  2. Don’t overshare on social media to set a good example.
  3. Monitor and respond appropriately to cyberbullying.
  4. Configure security and privacy settings on accounts and devices.
  5. Enable parental controls when available.
  6. Teach kids to be cautious about messages (phishing).
  7. Keep your systems and devices up to date (patching)!

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also has a page dedicated to resources for helping kids navigate Digital Age Risks. The issue is framed as “Stop.Think.Connect”. Just like it’s important for adults to stop and think before we click on a link, kids need to adopt the same mindset early. It’s important to understand what kids are doing in the physical world (where are they going, who will be there).

It’s just as important to discuss those things in the digital world too. Going off the points above, you should be talking about which websites are ok to visit, and which aren’t. What kinds of information are okay to share online and what kinds should not be shared online. Their site also has a lot of informational one pagers and documents to help educate kids.

KnowB4, an industry leader in training and education has some activities for kids to help them learn. The earlier we instill these security-minded practices, the safer we’ll all be against Digital Age Risks.