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Kids and Cybersecurity: What parents should be aware of in 2024

by Major League Mommy
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In an ideal world, the boundless expansion of the internet would be a digital playground for children to explore at their leisure without the worrying presence of threats or malicious actors. Unfortunately, this idyllic vision is far from reality. The web, while a convenient space to find information and connect with others, is also a landscape where cyber criminals lie in wait, devising schemes to pilfer sensitive information, a misstep that can lead to instances of identity or financial theft. It’s vital to arm yourself with knowledge of these digital hazards and understand the measures needed to counter them.

So today, let’s talk about how this impacts your children’s interactions on the web, and what you can do as a parent to keep your household safe.

Kid on latop with mom | The74million.com
Photo credit: The74million.com

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Main Cybersecurity Threats in 2024

Phishing Scams

Social engineering is at the heart of phishing scams, where attackers prey on emotions to deceive individuals into surrendering sensitive data, like passwords and bank details. Notably, as highlighted by CoSN, over 90% of digital security breaches originate from such deceptive practices.

DDoS Attacks

In a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) onslaught, an overwhelming influx of traffic from multiple sources paralyzes server bandwidth and resources. These incidents can impose staggering hourly financial losses on the targeted entities, often amounting to $40,000, while attackers typically incur a mere $40 in orchestrating these disruptions.

Data Compromise

Data breaches represent serious infringement episodes where unauthorized entities access confidential or protected information—student details often being a prime target. The year 2023 witnessed a surge in such violations, particularly affecting students and educational professionals.

Ransomware Extortions

Ransomware involves the malicious seizure of data by cybercriminals who demand payment or fulfill other conditions for its release. The financial ramifications of these threats are severe, with Emisof’s cybersecurity analysis estimating the potential costs in the U.S. soared past $7.5 billion in the year 2019 alone.

IoT Security Risks

Devices interconnected through the Internet of Things (IoT)—ranging from laptops to smart classroom gadgets—are often prone to security oversights or go without regular updates. This emerging concern underscores the necessity for educators and homeschooling parents to be vigilant and prioritize security when integrating IoT technology into educational environments.

How to Protect Children from Cyber Threats?

#1 Monitor Engagement on Social Platforms

The Internet is an important source of entertainment, knowledge and social interaction. At the same time, the risks of encountering scammers are great, and children do not know how to counteract them. If you monitor and correct your child’s actions, you will be able to develop the necessary critical thinking and the proper level of protection. Utilization of complementary parental supervision tools, like Google Family Link or Apple Screen Time, can furnish you with a comprehensive synopsis of your child’s internet utilization throughout the day.

#2 Back Up Your Data

It’s crucial to secure your data with reliable backups to safeguard it from Ransomware attacks. Backups can take up quite a bit of space, so this is something to keep in mind. It’s not practical to reserve absolutely everything. There is a better option – run the iPhone clean up app to delete similar photos. Phone cleaners can also compress videos to save space on the cloud or local device. Using this tip you can free up a lot of memory.

#3 Teach Children

Engage in regular dialogues with your family about the importance of cyber safety. Organizations such as Common Sense Education advocate for proactive discussion regarding the type of information that can be safely shared versus what should remain confidential. Begin by establishing a household policy that prohibits the divulgence of last names, home addresses, contact numbers, and any additional personal identifiers. It’s crucial to be involved in the process of creating strong passwords with your children and to educate them on the dangers of clickbait and various other online tactics used to extract personal data. Inculcate in them the confidence to seek assistance if they encounter dubious content or encounter anything that triggers concern on the internet, be it on a website or within an app.

#4 Lead By Example

cybersecurity | techopedia.com
Photo credit: techopedia.com

In the realm of parenting and education, there’s a natural inclination to dictate rules for our children to obey uncritically, particularly in the context of cybersecurity. Still, the lessons that truly stick are the ones we show through our own behavior.

The Research shows that when kids look up to adults they trust, they often mimic their actions and behaviors. Michigan State University’s research highlights how kids often mirror the actions of adults they look up to, which shows just how crucial it is for grown-ups to set a good example. The saying “Monkey see, monkey do” really drives home how much kids pick up by watching trusted adults.

Given this insight, when it comes to instilling cyber safety practices, it’s imperative for us to first become well-versed in the internet’s potential hazards. Modeling clever and secure internet habits sets a real-life example for our children to follow, making the lesson stick way better than any lecture could.

Final Thoughts

With kids spending more time on the internet every day both at school and at home, parents need to have safeguards in place to protect their households from cyber criminals. Kids also need to have an awareness of how to stay safe online. The tips in this article are a great place to start.

Have you ever had an incident with a cyber criminal? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!

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